The thing about Seth Rogen is that, every once in a while, you can see a really gifted comic. Early in this he finds himself being quizzed about his Jewishness by a couple of very strange-looking girl twins. ‘You think I’m different – have you ever seen The Shining?’ It’s a throwaway line, but beautifully delivered and it gives you some cause to hope that the next hour and a half might be likewise toned down. Sadly, everything soon blows up into boisterous man-boy ratbagerry. Isaac (Rogen), Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been getting together for Christmas Eve shenanigans for yonks, but Isaac now has family responsibilities and Chris, with the help of steroids, has become a famous gridiron player. Only Ethan wants to keep alive the dream of being invited to the world’s most fabulous celeb-dripping party. Working as an elf at a Fifth Avenue function one night, Ethan nicks three invitations to that exclusive party. Much stupidity follows as the boys strive to outdo each other in crassness while flogging Red Bull to their airhead audience – we’re all familiar with the brazenness of product placement, but this is ridiculous.
A typical component – a mandatory component in juvenilia such as this – is the dick joke. There are plenty of them, accompanied by the usual swearing, but they, along with the dope-smoking gags, wear terribly thin. The noise at times is ear-splitting, with all the actors needing to yell their lines louder and louder as the night wears on. A set piece involving Isaac, who is off his face on a cocktail of drugs, being drawn into a Catholic mass is so try-hard iconoclastic that it is embarrassing and, playing themselves, James Franco and Miley Cyrus come across as complete twats. That it all ends in treacly sentiment, with the guys singing a lullaby to Isaac’s baby, is vomit-making. It’s strictly for the deadbeats who put their smelly feet over the seat in front while checking their Fb page.