The basic premise of Jonathan Levine‘s upcoming holiday (gasp!) comedy The Night Before has been evident since the first trailer for the film was released. The narrative of Levine’s film sets a trio of best friends, played by Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, on one last adventure to find the mythological Nutcracker Ball, an annual, super-secret NYC holiday party filled with enough intoxicants to satisfy a mid-80s Motley Crue and Poison co-headlining tour. The foundation for this elusive bash, however, has remained a secret in the marketing thus far, making the film more about the last hurrah of the triptych before adulthood turns Rogen’s Isaac into a father and Mackie’s Chris into a superstar of sorts.
Well, now we have a clearer idea of how all this nonsense got started, as MTV recently premiered the opening sequence of The Night Before, complete with rhyming Tracy Morgan narration and a heaping portion of backstory that sets the titular Christmas Eve adventure into full swing. Watch the first few minutes of the film below:
In all honesty, It’s not entirely surprising that the film is anchored by the death of Ethan’s (Gordon-Levitt) parents, as Levine has a history of balancing humor with tragedy and heartbreak. It’s as true of The Wackness, his hymn to 1990s NYC and East Coast hip-hop, as it is of his beloved cancer comedy 50/50, which paired Rogen and Gordon-Levitt as best friends weathering a terminal diagnosis.
Now, The Night Before looks to air a bit more on the side of humor, what with all the drug hallucinations, rampant profanity, and a supporting cast that includes major comedians like Mindy Kaling, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell, Jason Mantzoukas, and Randall Park, to say nothing of Michael Shannon and Lizzy Caplan. Hopefully, the sheer average of guffaws that these performers turn out in any film (or show) they appear in will be able to override the more saccharine elements of Levine’s films, which often botch and undermine otherwise endearing comedies.