When it comes to Christmas movies these days, there are generally two ways to go: the feel-good family*-friendly route, or the edgy R-rated escape for adults. "The Night Before" is unquestionably the latter, as one might expect from Seth Rogen, and at least his Christmas-time release this year won't cause an international incident.
Ahem, "The Interview."
But I'll admit I'm an easy mark for these raunchy comedies that are often in poor taste, and even downright irresponsible. Stuff my wife would call guy humor. Rogen stars with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie as three not-so-wise-men partying on Christmas Eve, their annual tradition, which is about to end.
That's about it where plot is concerned. It's really just a series of scenes with the guys behaving badly. Rogen spends the whole picture stoned, and I suspect he's put in plenty of research on that. I'm not even sure how much of a script there was for this movie because the chemistry between the actors seems so natural, they're obviously just riffing their way through these scenes.
It's extremely lazy, but it's also funny.
"The Night Before" isn't essential holiday viewing. It's not even among Rogen's best comedies. But I laughed plenty, and in fact, two scenes in particular made me howl so hard my stomach hurt. It's a Christmas gift that keeps on giving for about 90 minutes.