The Night Before

The holiday music playing in my favorite hummus and tabbouleh restaurant this morning put me in the spirit so I went to a screening of Jonathan Levine's The Night Before to get out of it. Levine's movie of three best friends facing their last semi-raucous Christmas Eve outing before one of them becomes, albeit reluctantly, a father stars Seth Rogen as the dad-to-be, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a stunted, lovelorn musician of sorts and Anthony Mackie as a late-blooming professional football player with a social media addiction and mommy issues. For this last go-round, Gordon-Levitt's character scores tickets to New York's most exclusive and secretive Xmas Eve party, but God and his angels (metaphorically speaking, sort of) seem determined to keep the boys from attending. What starts out as an "innocent" adventure turns into a fiasco, a Red Bull stretch-limo charging through Brooklyn. Still, if it's a Seth Rogen bromance a couple of things are sure bets: (2) there will be pot, and (1) James Franco will make an appearance. In fact, not since Pineapple Express (2008), which costarred Rogen and Franco, have I witnessed such seemingly endless, blissful reefer toking in a movie. The contact high created a giddiness in the audience at the screening I attended that might not have been wholly deserved but the film is such brainless fun that you hardly notice how ridiculous it all is. The scene that features Rogen's Isaac, who is Jewish, attending, disastrously, midnight Mass with his Baby Mama (Jillian Bell) is brilliant. Recommended for those who like their comedy broad and vulgar and don't mind sexting images of, supposedly, James Franco's junk.


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