Taking a break from the park on Saturday we headed east to Orange where the giant, 25 screen Century Theatre lives next to several restaurants like our standby The Lazy Dog. A pitcher of sangria, mac n' cheese, chicken Parmesan, turkey sammich and soup later, we took in a day show of Christmas flick The Night Before starring Joseph Gordan Levitt, Anthony Mackie and Seth Rogen. This time last year, team Rogen and co-writer/producer Evan Goldberg were out promoting The Interview which had been pulled from major chains and only screening at independent houses after the Sony hack and possible North Korean participation. With nary a controversial subject in sight, The Night Before is a funny and fun flick that made me laugh and almost cry. Kind of like previous JGL, Seth Rogen and director Jonathan Levin effort, the comedy with cancer, 50/50. Only I straight up cried during that, a little.
The tale of three friends who spend every Christmas together after one of their parents dies, the bros are pushing their mid-30's and decide to end the tradition. Orphan Ethan (Levitt) is struggling through life while lawyer Isaac (Seth Rogen) is about to become a father and Chris (Mackie) is a professional football player on the rise. Throughout the night they revisit old haunts like a karaoke bar and Chinese restaurant on their way to a kick ass, secret party. Home Alone, Die Hard, booze and drug tinged holiday hijinks ensue along with surprise and hilarious cameos. Michael Shannon shows up as a creepy yet funny drug dealer while The Interview alum Lizzy Caplan and Randall Park pop up along with familiar faces Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street) and Ilana Glazer (Broad City). And those aren't even the cameos. Like 50/50, there's a bit of real life heart mixed in with Ethan dealing or not dealing with the sudden death of his parents, Isaac freaking out about having a baby and Chris' questionable gain in athleticism. All in a fun flick that reminds you what's great about the holidays and having loved ones.