Movie ReviewsIt’s Christmas Time! Vol. 2 (The Night Before Review)

Keith NoakesNovember 21, 2015

For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on Christmas Eve to celebrate the holidays after Ethan’s parents passed away in a car accident on Christmas. As Isaac prepares to be a father for the first time and Chris is becoming a famous football player, the friends realize that their annual tradition is coming to an end. To make their last year as memorable as possible, they plan a night of debauchery and hilarity by searching for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties in New York.

This film definitely had a lot of potential considering the people behind it were responsible for such films as This is The End, Neighbors, and The Interview (I haven’t seen it). This film is definitely similar to those but doesn’t quite reach their level. This film is a Christmas film (obviously) but that fact has little to do with the actual plot itself. Seeing that it is a story about three friends, the obvious message (I still won’t say it if you still haven’t gotten it) shows up so with that, the plot is pretty predictable but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This message is also handled in a subtle way. The real reason you are watching this film is for the characters’ journey, not the destination. The journey they took was pretty good for the most part. This was because of the interesting cast of characters they met along the way, most notably a weed dealer named Mr. Green (Micheal Shannon) who had some good lines in the film and serves another purpose later on. Seeing that this film is a comedy, there were some jokes but they did not all work with me. By that I mean anything that didn’t involve Seth Rogen’s Isaac as he was the primary source of the film’s comedy (which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise). He was just being stupid from being drunk and/or high all of the time. Sure this isn’t new considering Rogen’s past films but I still found it hilarious this time around. The few scenes that stood out (at least the ones I could mention since they were in the trailer) were the one in the church and the one in the limousine. This is because of great writing and great direction. By great writing, I mean mostly Rogen’s stuff because I wasn’t as much of a fan as everything else. Gordon-Levitt’s Ethan and Mackie’s Chris had backstories but Rogen’s Isaac was the real star. Knowing what I knew about the people involved with the film, I just wished the film could have gone further with its comedy. Although infrequent, there are some melodramatic moments which I thought it weighed down the film a little. I’ve already mentioned Rogen and Shannon but I thought the other performances by the two other stars, Gordon-Levitt and Mackie, were great as well. The three had great chemistry with each other and it made everything work better. There were other people who showed up and were good as well including Jillian Bell as Isaac’s wife Betsy (whose scenes with Isaac were hilarious) and Lizzy Caplan as Diana (just to name a few). Overall, this isn’t quite the Christmas classic as other have claimed but it’s still an excellent comedy.

Score: 8/10

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