Tis the season to take molly, as three unwise men go on a drug-fuelled quest to find New York’s most illusive holiday shindig, The Nutcracker Ball.
It’s your typical Seth Rogen and Co. comedy, but aptly adapted for the festive season. There’s frantic chases in sleighs, puking in a church, and a frankly amazing cover of RUN-DMC’s ‘Christmas in Hollis’. What makes it surpass most stoner comedies though is the film’s ability to mix both laughs and heart that could make it a future Christmas cult classic. It knows when to stop making dick jokes (though this does lead to the film’s funniest cameo) and focus on the importance of keeping adult friendships alive, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt grounding the film as a down-on-his-luck musician who refuses to forget the Ghosts of his Christmas Past. It’s a refreshing change to your usual alternative takes on the most wonderful time of the year, which tend to overuse gross-out humour and stick a middle finger at St. Nick.
That’s not to say the film isn’t tongue-in-cheek, as there are plenty of laughs to be had, mostly due to the great casting choices – Anthony Mackie plays a social media savvy football star who’s constantly trying to impress, and Michael Shannon is almost unrecognisable as an angelic drug dealer who offers words of wisdom via bongs and joints. However, it’s Seth Rogen that’s the star on the tree, gleefully amplifying father-to-be Issac’s hallucinogenic ramblings of his unborn child and Jewish heritage.
The film does hit a low point at the third act, as it tries to pull a few too many jokes out of its crackers, and sometimes the romantic clichés, although often subverted, dominate the plot. But The Night Before’s consistent self-aware humour and character chemistry make it one of the best holiday comedies of recent years, warming your heart just as much as their pseudo-offensive Yuletide jumpers. Merry Spliff-mas everyone!
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