The Night Before Review

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house. Not a creature was stirring apart from………Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie in New York City Y’alllllllllll.

Yes! Finally an adult Christmas comedy worthy of an annual watch alongside Bad Santa. The Night Before takes bromance buddy movies jingling all the way to Christmas in this honest and heartwarming story of friendship, growing up and one hilariously epic Christmas Eve night out.

The three friends began this annual tradition when Ethan’s (Levitt) parents passed away on Christmas Eve. His buddies decided to cheer up their best mate up by going out partying and this became their Christmas Eve ‘thing’. However, this yearly night of debauchery must sadly come to an end as the boys have grown into men; Isaac (Rogen) is about to become a father and Chris (Mackie) is just becoming too darn famous as a football player. Isaac’s wife Betsy, played brilliantly by Jillian Bell, makes sure the party will go off with a bang by giving Isaac a box full of ‘party enhancers’ to celebrate his last night out before becoming a dad. This will be their last night of festive fuckery as they hunt to find the ultimate most exclusive secret Christmas party in NYC.

The Night Before nicely balances  goofball comedy and a touching story of friendship. Levitt and Rogen have been here before in the heartwarming comedy 50/50, so we trust they can pull off entertainment and sentiment. Anthony Mackie is new to the fold but fitted in perfectly with great comedy timing. They all have great chemistry and their characters are equally funny, flawed and likable.

As this is an adult comedy there is a lot for kids of 80’s and 90’s with many nostalgic elements that include: Home Alone, Die Hard and Goldeneye on N64. Look out for subtle and not so subtle references to other classic Christmas flicks along the way.

Director Jonathan Levine is no stranger to a beautifully paced unorthodox native you just have to watch his coming-of-age drama The Wackness and rom-zom-com Warm Bodies. He achieves a hard feat, but we think he’s succeeded in creating a new Christmas classic.

The cherry on the Christmas cake is the great soundtrack which kicks off with Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth’s classic  ‘The Creator’ blaring out during the opening credits, Kanye West’s ‘Runaway’ is performed in a classic BIG homage and our three wise men perform what could arguably be the best Christmas hip hop song of all time ‘Christmas in Hollis’ in a Karaoke bar.

The Night Before is the best of Seth and a modern Christmas classic for your fix of festive giggles.

Check it out in NZ cinemas from 3 December.

Reviewed by Ian Wright and Ingrid Grenar

4 small stars