Fresh off his critically acclaimed dramatic performance as Steve Wozniak, Seth Rogan is getting back to his comedic roots with the movie The Night Before. Just in time for the holidays, the film features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie, and Seth Rogan’s famously recognizable laugh. Following the loyal friendship of three best friends, the film highlights everything that we love about the holidays: being with the ones we love and ugly Christmas sweaters.
With a cast completely stacked with comedic talent, the film is hilarious with heart. The plot revolves around a longstanding annual tradition between the three childhood friends who support Gordon-Levitt’s character Ethan by reuniting one night a year. Due to the likelihood that this will be their last reunion, the group is in search of a spectacularly debaucherous night on the most hallowed of eves: the night before Christmas.
The date selection for the film allows the costume department quite a bit of leeway to be creative with wardrobe. Since it is set in New York City, fans might expect to see some well dressed gentleman for a night out on the town. They would be wrong. Featured heavily throughout the film and in fact on the promotional film poster are three jolly looking guys in ugly Christmas sweaters. The wardrobe sets the tone for the type of evening that the friends are in for. Super casual and downright tacky, ugly Christmas sweaters have taken on a life of their own.
Once an embarrassing wardrobe item that you would expect to receive from an out-of-touch relative, ugly Christmas sweaters have transformed into a must-have holiday piece. Although there isn’t an official date of the first ugly Christmas sweater sighting, the origins can be traced back to embarrassing dads everywhere. Most notably they were brought to the forefront of the public’s attention through Chevy Chase’s iconic role in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Though it was an understated piece, the ugly sweater started being formally linked to Christmas and the holidays during that time.
The ugly Christmas sweater continued to live on, though it was not yet wholeheartedly celebrated like it is today. It was still seen as something your parents might wear up until the year 2000. Although the cause is unclear, the tide began to turn on how the ugly Christmas sweater was viewed. Ugly Christmas sweater parties began to pop up, particularly among 20-somethings who wanted to wear the sweater ironically. Hipsters started intentionally seeking out the ugliest sweater they could find at their local thrift stores and it became somewhat of a competition to find the worst one. This objective caught on and soon became widely accepted as a great holiday party theme.
So ingrained has this tradition become that not only is it completely believable that three male friends would be sporting these in New York City, it has become commonplace. Showcasing three grown men in hideous holiday sweaters isn’t shocking anymore, but is instead heartwarming, fun, and expected. It is no surprise that men their age would have these sweaters as part of their wardrobe and points to how popular and recognized this closet staple has become.
Seth Rogan’s holiday sweater in particular becomes a large focus of the film. His Star of David adorned ugly sweater is a mark of pride for his character and is a focal point of several scenes. Each character’s personality shines through in part thanks to their chosen sweater; a spectacular example of how clothing can be so bad that it’s good. The release of the film’s trailer set social media ablaze with chatter, largely focusing on the obvious choice of ugly Christmas sweaters as a movie centerpiece. Expect to see design copycats selling out in stores.