Columbia Pictures                               101 Minutes                                    R

Seth Rogen is known for buddy flicks Superbad,This is the End and more. Co-starring with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Ethan)  and Anthony Mackie (Chris Roberts)  looks like it could go down that road again, but it doesn’t. Female comics Jillian Bell, Lizzy Caplan and Mindy Kaling are included in this mix which make it different. And there are some spectacular cameos with high profile stars.

Gordon-Levitt calls this a coming of age Christmas story with close friends having a drug and alcohol fueled night as a last hurrah after years of celebrating Christmas Eve together. They are determined to find the party of all parties they’ve been trying to get tickets to for years.

Yes, there are some really gross scenes during their over-medicated celebration. Rogen’s character throwing up in church is not the usual Christmas image. Anthony Mackie, who plays a famous athlete having sex with a female fan in a bathroom isn’t pretty either.

But Rogen credits Director Jonathan Levine with keeping the story on track by including more than the boys’ antics.  He likes that it includes not only friendship, but romance, family, nostalgia, catharsis and heart…the whole package.

Mackie says the karaoke scene was “dope.”  He laughs describing what it was like jumping around with these guys. “Joe’s a funny dude. He gets excited quickly. You tell him go…he’s like a wind up doll and he just goes. Seth shows his lack of rhythm and it’s FUN!”

Levine says this could have been another “balls out” comedy driven by testosterone, but the ladies “brought some great stuff to the table” and changed all that.

Rogen’s producing partner, Evan Goldberg, says Jillian Bell was so funny in 22 Jump Street, they knew they had to use her in this film. They wanted a female who would be as crazy as Seth. She plays Betsy, the cool wife who gives her husband the gift that keeps on giving. It’s enough drugs to blow his head off. Bell is hilarious as the pregnant wife who gets it.

Lizzy Caplan, Gordon-Levitt’s love interest, is excited about and a fan of all of the very funny women in the film. She states emphatically, ‘…the more funny women around, the movie can only get better.” Gordon-Levitt complements Caplan for being smart and good at improv and thinks his scenes with her are really funny.

We think the male standout in this film is Michael Shannon as Mr. Green, the boys’ heavy duty drug supplier since high school. His dead-pan, super comedic timing will make you chuckle. By the end of the movie, you know he had a good time playing this character.

Is this worth your bucks? This is a fun ride that’s a little jerky in pacing with quick changes in locations and situations. They pack a lot in one night. But there is a storyline and some good heartwarming moments in addition to gross and just plain funny comedy. Seth Rogen spreads the wealth in this film. He’s not doing all the heavy lifting. Everyone gets a chance to get laughs.

The release of this Christmas movie was moved up twice to Thanksgiving, then again, a weekend ahead.  Is a month before Christmas too early for The Night Before? Naaaa. We think it will definitely put you in the mood for the holidays.

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