The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

Boosted by its stel­lar cast and play­ful take on A Christ­mas Carol, comin­gof-age stoner-buddy com­edy The Night Be­fore is laced with warm hol­i­day cheer.

Make no mis­take: it’s still a silly romp thick with dope smoke and dumb jokes, but the per­for­mances are solid, with some sur­pris­ing sen­ti­ment be­hind the wacky an­tics.

Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt, Seth Ro­gen and An­thony Mackie play best friends bid­ding farewell to their 10-year tra­di­tion of par­ty­ing to­gether on Christ­mas Eve. Ethan (Gor­don-Le­vitt) is de­ter­mined to make their last night epic, es­pe­cially since Chris (Mackie) is on a hot streak in his foot­ball ca­reer and Isaac (Ro­gen) is ex­pect­ing a baby.

Isaac’s wife, Betsy (the hi­lar­i­ous Jil­lian Bell), gives him a spe­cial gift in hon­our of his last Christ­mas Eve with his pals: a box filled with “ev­ery sin­gle drug in the whole world”.

Ro­gen, as Isaac, is pre­dictably over the top as he tries them, fall­ing into a delu­sional haze. Gross-out mo­ments fol­low, like when he barfs in church and lets his nose bleed into a woman’s mar­tini.

They meet up with Ethan’s ex (Lizzy Caplan) and her friend (Mindy Kal­ing), Chris’ mum (Lor­raine Tous­saint), and Re­becca Grinch (Ilana Glazer), who help bal­ance the dumb-guy de­bauch­ery.

Isaac main­tains a steady level of wast­ed­ness as he frets about fa­ther­hood.

Gor­don-Le­vitt, as Ethan, faces the hard­est hol­i­day chal­lenge: What will Christ­mas Eve be like with­out his bud­dies? They’ve moved on with their lives; why hasn’t he?

This mil­len­nial com­ing-ofage story is cloaked in a cloud of smoke. It’s a drug­gie com­edy, sure, but a sweet­ness about vul­ner­a­bil­ity, hon­esty, friends and fam­ily cuts through the haze.

Things may be tied up a lit­tle too neatly, but it is Christ­mas, af­ter all.

Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt in The Night Be­fore.

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