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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Christmas Madness

The Night Before (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

This is a “story about three best friends and their first Noel.” On Dec. 24, 2001 a new tradition was born. “Fun was there.” Nine­teen-year-old Ethan Miller's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) best friends Isaac Green­berg (Seth Rogen) and Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie) made it their mission to console him after the untimely death of his parents. They went partying together on Christmas Eve and have continued the custom every year. In 2008 they got wind of an awesome party the Nutcracka Ball. “This whitest of white whales” has eluded their yearly search for it.

Christmas Eve, 2015. Ethan, 33, is a struggling musician who's taken on a job as a Santa's elf serving champagne for some black-tie event. His boss (Randall Park) not liking his attitude demotes him to coat check. Chris has newly become a black sports celebrity after six years in the NFL. Isaac is coming to terms with his wife Betsy's (Jillian Bell) flourishing pregnancy (To Isaac: “If you're not expecting, what are you?” His reply: “I'm Jewish.”) Since their adult lives have taken different turns, they're gathering for one last blow­out before going their separate ways.

Chris arrives wishing everyone, “Merry Christmas, blessed Kwanza, happy Hanukkah!” Betsy gives Isaac an early Christmas present in a small package: “It's every single drug in the whole world.” Ethan comes in having walked off his job. They gather in front of Chris's limo, and as the camera circles these diverse buddies preparing to mix it up for the last time, Ethan announces that he's purloined three tickets to the Nutcracka Ball.


These fellows will stick out in a crowd because they wear matching sweaters. Isaac has on a blue one with a Star of David blazoned across the front. Chris wears a “Black Santa” sweater (“You look just as White as they do.”) And Ethan's sweater has reindeer running across it. A fourth member of their sartorial party would be their dealer Mr. Green (Michael Shannon) who's wearing a blue knit cap. They rendezvous with him at their old high school haunts so he'll recognize them as legitimate customers.

The plot proceeds along the lines of, (Psalm 119:62-64) “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.” These companions are going to learn valuable lessons in their after-midnight party. Mr. Green advises Chris, “the truth shall make you free,” after he samples “the weed of Christmas Present.” Indeed that night he will have to come to terms with his sudden sports success (“I'm a celebrity now”) at an age (34) when most athletes retire (“Every­body's on steroids.”)

Isaac gets “visions of Christmas future” when he witnesses, “It's our beautiful baby girl” performing at a “strip club 18 years in the future.” He must assess where he's going wrong as a father even after having read all those books.

Ethan gets a dose of Christmas past when he was unable to commit to his girl­friend Diana (Lizzy Caplan) so they broke up but he still carries a torch for her. Miley Cyrus sings, “Wrecking Ball” at the party to bring home a hard point.

This movie is loaded with Christmas tropes, naturally enough including Christian ones from, “The Jews, they crucified the Messiah” to, “That boy needs Jesus.” The resolution of the main issues stemmed from, “These drugs set me on a vision quest.” They should be congratu­lated for having accommodated their dope dealer as to a meeting place comfort­able to him, according to, (Heb. 13:2) “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Production Values

This “” Christmas movie (2015) was directed by Jonathan Levine. Its screenplay was written by Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir & Evan Gold­berg. The story was Levine's idea. It stars Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with supporting cast Jillian Bell (Betsy), Lizzy Caplan (Diana), Mindy Kaling (Sarah), and Michael Shannon as an enigmatic Mr. Green. The acting was all good and they seemed to be having a lot of fun with it.

MPAA rated it R for drug use and language through­out, some strong sexual content and graphic nudity. It was filmed in New York City, New York, USA. The central plot was some­what obscured by the over abundance of seasonal bits and gags.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

Despite the title “The Night Before” should not be viewed on the calendar night before Christmas. That is a silent night, holy night, all is calm … 'twas the night before Christmas and … not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. There are lots of creatures stirring in this movie that's far from quiet and at times sacrilegious. It's just too LOUD for that particular night. Its release Date: 20 November 2015 (USA) springs it early in the season when it can kick off the festivities, and it works well for that.

This is a fun movie, well done, and if you like this kind of fare, knock yourself out. Not for the kiddies, though.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.