The Night Before

Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star as old pals who reunite every Christmas to make the rounds of their favorite Manhattan haunts. Jonathan Levine (The Wackness) wrote the original story for this yuletide diversion, which has been punched up, to little effect, by a crew that includes Rogen’s perennial writing and producing partner, Evan Goldberg. It’s one of those comedies in which the big jokes bomb but the small, apparently improvised character moments generate a few chuckles; the richest running gag involves Michael Shannon as an irascible pot dealer who sees himself as a modern-day Jay Gatsby. Levine directed; with Lizzy Caplan and cameos by James Franco, Miley Cyrus, and Tracy Morgan.