The Night Before review: A festive buddy comedy lacking in Christmas cheer

Steve Hogarty
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie in The Night Before

Cert 15 | ★★☆☆☆

A festive tumbling barrel of semi-improvised dick and drug jokes, The Night Before is a semi-funny Christmas buddy comedy in which lifelong friends Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) hoof it around Manhattan in an attempt to recreate their once honoured annual traditions.

Ethan is a developmentally arrested no hoper, whose job as a Christmas elf affords him a meagre, giant loft apartment in the city. His maturing buddies are drifting apart: Rogen’s character is a down-settling father to be, while Mackie plays a recently successful sports celebrity, whose Red Bull and Sony Xperia meta-sponsorship cake is both had and eaten.

On their eve to end all eves, Rogen chugs down a pick ‘n’ mix of narcotics and Rogens hard all over every scene. His shining moments include sweatily fielding dick pics over Christmas dinner, and running screaming from a Christian midnight mass in a shroom- and Judaism-induced paranoia.

There are some suprisingly touching moments of festive loveliness, but the stars’ on-screen chemistry has to work hard to prop up this joke-light script. Far too often it doesn’t.

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