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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid the iffy stuff, he three friends struggle with personal problems (commitment, responsibility, consequences for your actions) and learn to trust and confide in one another. They learn that their friendship is important and should be trusted to survive despite family, relationship, and work demands.
Positive Role Models
Even though the characters work to keep their friendship going -- and they're all nice guys -- their behavior in the movie is very iffy, with no real repercussions.
Violence & Scariness
Violence played for laughs includes a chase, with painful-looking falls; a brief fist fight; a runaway horse dragging a man; a man stabbed through the hand; a bloody nose (with blood dripping into a drink). Also yelling, shouting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple has sex in a public bathroom (no graphic nudity, but different positions are shown). Brief shot of topless women in a strip club. Naked penis pictures on a phone. Naked male bottom shown from the side. Strong innuendo/sex talk.
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Very strong language, with extremely frequent uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "c--k," "p---y," "a--hole," "bitch," "balls," "a--hole," "jizz," "vagina," "d--k," "douchebag," "crackheads," etc. -- plus "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
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Products & Purchases
Red Bull is mentioned and shown frequently. A Sony Xperia Z Ultra smartphone is shown several times and mentioned by name. Apple iPhones are shown. Craigslist mentioned. Nintendo '64 is mentioned (specifically Goldeneye 007).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main characters drink alcohol and use drugs (mushrooms, cocaine, pot, etc.) throughout (it's indicated that this behavior is an exception to the norm). A character has extreme, comical reactions to the drugs. A character uses performance-enhancing steroids. A secondary character is a drug dealer. A character's parents were killed by a drunk driver.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Night Before is a "hard R" comedy set on Christmas Eve that stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anthony Mackie. It's filled with iffy/unsafe behavior, not necessarily with any consequences -- but the main characters do learn to become responsible and to trust one another. There's a brief sex scene, and naked breasts are shown in a strip club; plus, there are penis pictures on a phone and lots of heavy innuendo throughout the movie. One main character takes lots of drugs -- including mushrooms, cocaine, and pot -- and has extreme, intended-to-be-comical reactions to them. A secondary character is a drug dealer, and there's also quite a bit of drinking. Language is very strong and constant, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "p---y," and much more. Some violent moments/dangerous situations are played for laughs, including chases, fights, and a stabbing, with a little blood shown. Characters pee and throw up in public. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Naughty Christmas comedies are fairly common, and this one doesn't offer much that hasn't been done before, but the bond between the three characters, and a love of Christmas, make it worth seeing. Director/co-writer Jonathan Levine previously moderated male bonding between Gordon-Levitt and Rogen in the terrific 50/50, and he effortlessly brings that level of affection and care to the three men here. They compliment each other nicely, like the three corners of a triangle.
Unfortunately, the humor in the movie doesn't quite take off. It's based on the very simple arcs that each character goes through separately; it's plenty naughty, but it's not terribly surprising. The humor in the similar A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas worked better because it was cleverly balanced between zaniness and sanity. Still, a couple of giggles and a genuine affection eventually save the day and make THE NIGHT BEFORE a stocking stuffer worth opening.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.