Seth Rogen has always been the kind of actor that I like in small doses, more than taking a leading role in things. I think he can be funny as hell at times, but often he wears out his welcome quickly and I find myself saying yah yah WE GET IT! So it with great pleasure that I can tell you, Seth Rogen in The Night Before gives his best comedic performance to date, a balls to the wall funny performance that is some perfectly timed and just down right funny as hell. To bad the rest of the movie has a hard time keeping up.
Directed by indie god Jonathan Levine The Night Before has all the right elements and a fantastic performance from Rogen, to make it a new holiday classic along side Will Farrel’s Elf. However its other characters stop being funny half way through, leaving us begging for more Rogen .
Its the story of 3 childhood friends, who have spent the last decade, celebrating Christmas Eve together, trying to find the be all end all of Christmas bashes, The Nut Cracker Ball. The Nut Cracker Ball is an invite only event, held somewhere in New York City, that is like the Holy Grail for these 3 friends.
Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a down on his luck coat hanger, who has never seemed to get over the loss of his parents who died in a car accident years ago. It was than that friends Issac (Seth Rogen) now a big wig Lawyer and soon to be father and Chris Robertson (Anthony Mackie) now a major Football star, came over to Ethan’s place on Christmas Eve and started the long standing tradition of getting stoned and drunk and wondering New York City. However both Chris and Issac are ready to move on with their lives and think it is time for Ethan to grow up and move on as well.
While checking coats one night Ethan finds tickets to the Nut Cracker Ball and is able to convince his friends to have one last crazy night before they move on forever. What they don’t know is the night will involve a crazy stoner Cad Driver (Michael Shannon), a box of every drug known to man from Issac’s wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) , a crazy Grinch hipster chick (Ilana Glazer) and Ethan’s ex girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan). Toss in a gay James Franco and Miley Cyrus and you have the making for an epic night!
The Night Before does contain some huge laughs and many toss away one liners that could become part of our mainstream (I was tickled myself when The Grinch lady says she is taking after her Christmas heroes “The Grinch, The Sticky Bandits and Hans Gruber). The first 30 mins of the film in particular were very funny and contained so cool musical moments.
However The Night Before goes into lovey dovey mode fast and the movie quickly wears out its welcome. Repeating the same jokes, dragging a joke on a bit to long and just generally not being funny at all. Of course Rogen is the saving grace throughout all of this and almost single handily saves the entire film.
I almost want to recommend the movie based on the work of Rogen alone. However I feel like you would be better off just waiting to watch this on Netflix were you can fast forward through the boring parts and fully embrace the Rogen experience.