The Night Before

Seth Rogen and friends get raunchy for the holidays in this harmless bro-comedy

Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'The Night Before." Credit: Sarah Shatz/Columbia Pictures/Everett

You could find worse escapism for the holidays than watching Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie play overgrown adolescents ready to endure one last monumental Christmas hangover as long as they can have a blast the night before. That's the movie. And it's rowdy fun with a dash of sweetness.

Rogen plays Isaac, a Jewish husband facing the incoming responsibilities of fatherhood. Every Christmas Eve he goes on the town in NYC with his best buds,  Chris (Mackie), an NFL star, and Ethan (Gordon-Levitt), a slacker the guys have been taking care of since he lost his parents in a drunk-driving accident as a teenager. What's the harm for these thirtysomethings in having a final blowout?

Director Jonathan Levine, who wrote the script with Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, basically provides the setups and lets his actors party as they all converge at the season's hottest ticket, the Nutcracka Ball. Is that Miley? It is, and there's more surprises. So what if this ramshackle farce doesn't always hit its marks. It's got the spirit. Go with it.