The Night Before

Rated 3.0

Three lifelong pals (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie) get together for the last iteration of a ritual that dates from their teen years: a night of Christmas Eve revelry, this time, at long last, to wind up at their Holy Grail of parties, the legendary and mysterious Nutcracker Ball. The script by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg and director Jonathan Levine is disorderly, often obnoxious and rather too strenuous in its efforts to out-Farrelly the Farrelly brothers. But by golly, it's pretty damn funny more often than not (Rogen does an extended riff on being strung out on too many drugs that's a classic of its kind), with an engaging air of a circle of friends having larky fun. And for a holiday movie that's absolutely not for the whole family, it's surprisingly sweet at heart. J.L.