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Once again Seth Rogen stars in a film which redefines the term “coming of age” by representing the weird, and difficult, transition from just legally being an adult, to actually having all the responsibilities and expectations of an adult.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
It has been 14 hard years for Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) since his parents died on Christmas, but luckily he has had his friends Isaac (Seth Rogen), and Chris (Anthony Mackie) by his side. Though with Isaac having a family, and his first child on the way, and then Chris having a burgeoning football career, they are slowly but surely slipping away from Ethan. Not because they don’t love him, but because of how difficult it is to make time for friends while dealing with your career and taking care of your immediate family.
So, being that their 14-year-old Christmas tradition of partying all night can no longer be done, they decide this is the last year. Leading to them meeting a lot of old friends and acquaintances, like Diana (Lizzy Caplan), Ethan’s ex; Mr. Green (Michael Shannon) a very off-putting drug dealer from the group’s high school days; and a newcomer in Rebecca (Ilana Glazer) who teaches Chris a valuable lesson. All of which participate in crafting the best end to their Christmas tradition.
Tracy Morgan’s part as the narrator, in the beginning, was hilarious, to the point you sort of wish he did more vulgar Christmas rhymes throughout the movie.
Seth Rogen playing someone on recreational drugs was hilarious. To the point that I honestly hope, as he reaches that point where he may try to do a dramedy type film, that maybe he plays a drug addict trying to get clean.
The relationships of the film, whether it is the friendships between the leads, or the relationships they have with their spouse, or mother, all bring you a sense of family and love which only a comedy written by Evan Goldberg, the man who writes, and produces, nearly all of Seth Rogen’s movies, could have.
On The Fence
For me, while the actors involved nail the comedy, unfortunately, the dramatic moments, or rather the ones which should get you teary eyed, sort of fall flat. I mean, you recognize Ethan is still hurting from losing his parents on one of the handful of days families come together, but there is no hard hitting gut punch which has you switch from laughter to tears at all. Ethan’s backstory is just an explanation, not something which ultimately will draw any emotion out of you.
Overall: TV Viewing
Is The Night Before a Christmas classic? No. In fact, even with about 30 some odd laughs I’d say it is quite forgettable. If only because I feel like Rogen and Goldberg are still working on how to make people laugh, have them relate to characters, and maybe get their emotions played with. Thus making this film more so just another attempt toward that goal than a masterpiece in either comedy or dramedy. However, even with that said, as with most of Rogen’s movies you can expect laughter, the type of craziness which could only come from stoner comedies, and a film which strongly is about friendship and family, and the difficulty it is to actively participate in both and make everyone happy. All the while, still feeling young and like you can do almost anything.