After Ethan Miller (Gordon-Levitt)'s parents died on Christmas Eve, his two best friends, Issac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie), decide to cheer him up by having a night on the town, full of drinking, drugs and partying. That night ends up becoming a Christmas tradition for them. However, 14 years later, Issac is now married and about to be a father and Chris is a famous football player, leaving Ethan to watch his friends move on without him. As a result, all three decide to celebrate one last Christmas together, and with Ethan scoring some tickets to a private and extravagant Christmas party, it will be an eventful one.
Not to be confused with the 1988 teen comedy of the same name starring Keanu Reeves.
- Affectionate Parody: Of Christmas movies.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The recorded invite to the Nutcracker Ball says, "You will learn valuable lessons, be filled with Christmas cheer, and probably get laid".
- Bad Santa: Ethan runs into a couple of them, who are doing a Santa themed bar crawl.
- Brick Joke: The trio have to wait for Mr. Green, the dealer they talked to as teenagers, in front of their old high school. Chris explains that he'll only meet up in places he's met you before, meaning it was either that or in front of Chris's mom's house. Later, the weed gets stolen and they have to contact Mr. Green again to get more. Guess where they meet up this time?
- The Cameo: Tracy Morgan as the narrator and Santa Claus; plus Miley Cyrus and James Franco.
- Celebrity Paradox: While he's credited by his name, James Franco's character's last name is never mentioned. If he is indeed James Franco, then he doesn't notice that Issac looks exactly like Seth Rogen.
- Contrived Coincidence: Ethen gets put on coat-check duty just as a man who has three tickets to the Nutcracker Ball in his coat pocket arrives at the event he's working at. Sarah just happens to be dating someone who can get her and Diana into the same event.
- Mr. Green says he's hosting a party later, and invites the boys along, in his first scene. He winds up being the host of the Nutcracker Ball.
- As Chris is getting the weed from Mr. Green, Mr. Green cryptically tells him to tell Isaac that he'll see him in a couple hours. Sure enough, a couple hours later after their weed is stolen and they have to get more, Issac is the one who gets into Mr. Green's car this time.
- The Grinch: Rebecca refers to herself as such, and her heroes include the Grinch himself and Hans Gruber.
- Jerkass: Rebecca, who not only hates Christmas (like her hero), but loves to ruin other people's Christmases as well. Including Chris'.
- Karma Houdini / What Happened to the Mouse?: We never see Rebecca again after her final confrontation with Chris, nor is she even mentioned.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Is Mr. Green really an angel and Santa's son or is he just really, really high?
- Meaningful Name: Mr. Green sells pot.
- Plot Coupon: The Nutcracker Ball, that Ethan has been searching for every Christmas for the better part of a decade, is referred to as the white whale of Christmas Parties. He finds three tickets at the beginning that the characters use to get into the party at the start of the third act.
- Shout-Out: Mr. Green has been hosting a lavish party every year without anyone knowing who he is, just like The Great Gatsby, which he directly credits as his inspiration. He also references the 2013 film, saying "the 3D hurts [his] head, but [he's] a sucker for Leo."
- The Stoner:
- Issac, after being given a lot of different drugs by his wife, spends a good chunk of the movie being high as a kite... on every drug he has taken! Though, all three main characters can be considered this.
- There's also Mr. Green, the boys' drug dealer, the unseen host of the Nutcracker Ball and a guardian angel. Oh, and he knows Santa.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Diana says yes to Ethan's spontaneous proposal only because he did it onstage, with Miley Cyrus herself, and everyone in the crowd watching her. When they get a moment alone after, she firmly tells him it won't happen, as not only are they broken up, but also because he's clearly spiraling and needing something to hold on to.
- Wet Blanket Wife: Betsy is a conscious aversion. She merrily sends Isaac off to party with his friends, understanding the importance of their tradition, and gifts him with drugs to thank him for being so supportive throughout her pregnancy. She's also very understanding when he breaks down and confesses his anxieties to her, saying that she'll now be there to support him.