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"The Night Before" Is Not Quite the Christmas Film You Are Used to Seeing

Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.

The Night Before

A very different kind of Christmas film

A very different kind of Christmas film


The Night Before: Rated PG“ (1h. 41 m.)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian Bell, Lizzy Caplan

Directed by: Jonathan Levine

A Frat-Boy Christmas Film

Ethan (Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie) have been friends since childhood, and for the past decade, they have made a yearly Christmas Eve reunion that has become an annual night of debauchery and hilarity. Now that they’re entering adulthood, the tradition is becoming something of an uncomfortable inconvenience to both Isaac and Chris who have (unlike Ethan) have grown up and desire to put aside their childish ways. The reason for the annual meet-up is that a decade earlier, Ethan lost his parents in a car accident, it was then that the three friends began their annual Christmas ritual. Isaac and Chris stayed by Ethan’s side.

The Night Before - Official Trailer


Back in 2008, while out at a bar, the three friends crossed paths with a woman who tells them they came from the craziest Christmas party ever — The Nutcracker Ball. Being the party animals that they are, the boys spend the next several years attempting to locate the party to end all parties, but they never quite succeed. Now that Isaac and Chris want out of the annual hook-up, Ethan insists that they locate Nutcracka Ball for one final blowout. As luck would have it, they happen to acquire a set of tickets to the event and the boys all agree that, to make this time as memorable as possible, they will all set out to locate the Nutcracka Ball — the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

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A Different Kind of Christmas Film

Not your typical Christmas film

Not your typical Christmas film

An Annual Event

What is complicating all of the holiday proceedings is that Chris (now a famous football player who is secretly using steroids), while Isaac is married to Betsy (Bell) who is expecting their first baby. Meanwhile Ethan is a struggling musician that has recently broken up with his girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan), and is on his own downward spiral. What follows is a wild night of booze, drugs, and wildly-inappropriate behavior as the boys go to town partying it up in their last bid to have the most insane party night ever.

The Night Before [Blue-ray]

It's fun, fun, fun

Yes, kids this is essentially one long frat-boy party flick that spends all of its screen time with the dudes partying hearty, and chewing up the scenery. It is full of insensitive and tasteless humor, that is pretty typical of these kinds of films, but none of that makes it all bad. It really is something of an entertaining, off-color, anti-Christmas film that is actually full of the holiday spirit. To be sure, it isn’t everyone’s type of film, but it is, as stated, kind of fun, and really pretty entertaining.

Dancing up a Storm

We can dance if we want to...

We can dance if we want to...

It All Ends Well...

As this is ostensibly a Christmas film, it really isn’t much of a spoiler to let it slip that everything turns out well for everyone and the film winds up on an upbeat “Christmassy” note.

It's Christmas for Everyone

All's well that ends well.

All's well that ends well.

© 2016 Robert J Sodaro

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