It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when families dust off National Lampoons Christmas Vacation from the DVD drawer or Home Alone or even my personal yuletide themed picks, Die Hard and The Ref. Every year Santa also arrives at the cinema.
Not to be confused with the 1988 Keanu Reeves gem of the same name, The Night Before, a new Christmas in New York adventure is about to hit the big screen but this is certainly no Miracle on 34th Street. Concerning three friends on the town in a state of inebriated trance from an array of mixed substances is bound to either offend or delight audiences the same obnoxious way Bad Santa caused controversy in 2003. It’s a naughty, hardly nice Ho Ho Ho festive tale of jaded drunken debauchery with no race, religion or gender taboo.
As the advertisements suggest, you may not be surprised considering this Christmas onslaught is from the guys who, as they claim ‘almost’ gave you The Interview. Seth Rogen and James Franco headlined a film revolving around the premise of eliminating dictator Kim Jong-un which was pulled from release after threats to cinemas that had booked it. Distributor Sony relented when accepted back onto limited screens and offered as a simultaneous on demand streaming option.
A year on from the well documented Sony Pictures hack centering around so called comedy The Interview, it grew into one of the biggest internal Hollywood scandals in any era. Sony insiders were forced to go basic using pen and paper after sensitive emails were exposed for the public to see. Unreleased movies Annie and Still Alice were also hacked and put online for people to watch free losing Sony millions of revenue in the process.
The scenario played out across the world with North Korea denying involvement although that is who the FBI pinpointed. Mogul executives were exposed and reputations tarnished including the writing off of yet to be released Hawaiian romance, Aloha.
As it turned out, The Interview was dreadful. One of the worst movies of 2014 which made more money than it originally may have without the global manipulation. The stars got behind the film touting it as hilarious and a form of free speech, Seth Rogen is no stranger of madcap roles so why wouldn’t he back his own film. The Night Before is no different, just a variable way to provoke outrage. If you’re one of the few who enjoyed The Interview, go see it.
Now an established funnyman, Seth Aaron Rogen of Russian Jewish descent raised in Canada got his first big break in time travel drama Donnie Darko, hardly making a blip on the box office in 2001. Produced by and co-starring Drew Barrymore, it was re-released a year later as an extended Directors cut thus becoming a cult favourite. Rogen appeared in a small role identified with his awkward look and thick rimmed spectacles however did not exactly project what success was to come in risque comedy.
Short lived television show Freaks & Geeks held a faithful audience and brought continuing collaborators including James Franco together with Rogen for the first time. It was the low key studio release of 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) that gained unanticipated huge success, next up his first lead role in Knocked Up (2007) both stayed in cinemas for months reminiscent of the golden years of 80s sex romps such as Porky’s.
Rogen had become a sought after star with occasional range. More serious participation in Observe and Report (2007) or Take this Waltz (2011) were often overlooked for his comedic antics revered in such capers as Pineapple Express (2008) and Bad Neighbours (2014). In a seemingly horrible decision, someone thought Seth Rogen Superhero was a good idea by casting him as crime fighter Green Hornet (2011). Catastrophic box office results and critical scorn finished that franchise potential. Luckily the same year he lent his voice to a runaway alien in Paul, one of his best parts.
2013 saw a major return to form by Rogen and his entire regular acting troupe, many actor friends all playing themselves running from lightening bolts or sinkholes during the apocalyptic satire, This is the End. Plaudits for playing Steve Wozniak in upcoming Oscar contender true story, Steve Jobs (Jan 2016) may help Seth Rogen to be taken more seriously.
And what of The Night Before, festive cheer is put to the extreme gleefully laughing up his Jewish ancestry alongside Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt under the influence bumbling around New York searching for the holy grail of Christmas gatherings. There are cameos galore including Miley Cyrus in an outrageous Wrecking Ball duet with one of the boys and a visit to play the department store floor piano featured by Tom Hanks in Big (1988).
Although critic proof, The Night Before has the Christmas spirit at heart but will easily divide an unsuspecting audience with walk outs a distinct possibility. I don’t remember full frontal nudity or a weed dealing ghost of Christmas past present and future appearing in It Happened One Night.
Shane A BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.