Submitted by Tornado Dragon
At the Nutcracker Ball, Ethan publicly proposes to his ex-girlfriend Diana, and though she says “yes”, she turns it down in private, saying that he is only doing it because he is reaching out to her as a lifeline because his friends don’t want to hang out with him at Christmas anymore. Meanwhile, Isaac causes a few painful accidents to happen to Chris’ teammates, but before they can beat him up, Chris comes to Isaac’s defense and keeps them from attacking by pulling out his phone and recording them. Unfortunately, he and Isaac then get thrown out by security. When Ethan goes up to the rooftop to think about things, he is surprised by his weed dealer Mr. Green, who reveals that he is the creator and mystery host of the Nutcracker Ball. He also assures Ethan that Chris and Isaac will never leave him and they need him. Soon after, Ethan hears Chris and Isaac yelling at the bouncers that their friend is still inside, so he gets their attention and tells them that he is coming down. He then thanks Mr. Green and leaves.
At dawn, the trio iron out the wrinkles in their friendship, and they vow to try harder to stay friends despite their busy lives. Betsy then calls Isaac and says that she has gone into labor, and as they wonder how they are going to get to the hospital she has been taken to, Mr. Green’s car suddenly shows up with the driver’s door open. They take it and drive off, and Mr. Green appears on the street and grows wings and flies away, revealing him to be an angel who was helping the trio in order to earn his wings. When the guys get to the hospital, Isaac finds out that Betsy’s labor was a false alarm, but he confesses to her that he is very insecure about becoming a parent, which makes her feel relieved because she is insecure about being one, too. They all spend Christmas morning with Betsy’s family, and later, Chris has dinner with his mother and confesses that he is using steroids. Ethan visits Diana at her parents’ house and apologizes for what he did last night and also for being afraid to commit to her, and she admits that she has missed him these past three months. Ethan tells her that he wants to meet her parents now, and then they kiss before going inside.
One year later, the guys are shown having Christmas dinner with their friends and loved ones, and they sing a soft version of “Christmas Time” by Run DMC to Isaac’s baby daughter when she can’t sleep. We then find out that everything that has transpired is a story being read out by Santa Claus to his elves, and we also find out that Mr. Green is his son.
While the three friends are attempting to pursue Rebecca (Ilana Glazer), a Christmas-hating thief, after she steals Chris’ (Anthony Mackie) marijuana a second time, Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tries to convince Chris to just forget about chasing her around and just go with him and Isaac (Seth Rogen) to the Nutcracker Ball, but he refuses, saying that he needs that weed for the party because he promised Tommy (Aaron Hill) and his other teammates that he would get it for them. He tells Ethan that he will meet him and Isaac at the F train, then takes off. Isaac – who was already on a quest to recover his phone from Sarah (Mindy Kaling) after they had accidentally taken each other’s phones earlier in the evening – then sees on the Find My iPhone app on Sarah’s phone that she is close by, so he decides to go and get it now rather than wait to go to the party and get it back from her there, and he, too, tells Ethan that he will meet him at the F train.
Chris finds Rebecca and chases her again, but she is ultimately able to escape him. However, before she gets out of range, she wisely tells him that he is lucky that he has friends willing to spend the holidays with him and he needs to appreciate that before he loses them. Isaac is unable to find Sarah due to his mind and vision being skewed from the numerous drugs he has already taken, and he ends up outside of a church just as midnight mass is about to occur, carrying on a conversation with the inanimate figures in the nativity scene. His wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) shows up to attend the service and spots him, and she tries to get him to leave because her family is not far behind and she doesn’t want him around them because he is clearly wasted. However, her sister Cindy (Heléne Yorke) soon appears, and not at all wise to the fact that Isaac is on drugs, she invites him to attend the mass with them. Isaac does so, but he is unable to stay calm and quiet and ends up puking in the aisle before running out the door. While heading for the party, Ethan comes across two drunks on a pub crawl that are dressed as Santa Claus, and – largely fueled by the anger he feels over his friends leaving him – he rebukes them for besmirching the image of Santa and sullying the spirit of Christmas overall, which spurs the two men to give him a beating. After they walk away, he gets a call from his ex-girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan) – whom he got back in touch with at a karaoke bar earlier that evening after three months apart and who is now at the Nutcracker Ball with Sarah – asking if Isaac has Sarah’s phone, and Ethan confirms that he does. She also tells him that the party is amazing and he ought to get down here and see her.
As the three friends converge on the F train, Chris and Isaac notice the black eye Ethan is sporting from the beating and ask him about it, and he tells them about the attack and says that he knows it wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t bail on him. Though Isaac tries to play peacekeeper between his friends, Chris asks Ethan why he is blaming this bad incident on them, and he replies that this is their last Christmas get-together and they are so wrapped up in their own matters that they don’t care about it. Chris accuses Ethan of being jealous of him because he has found some success and some new friends, but Ethan retorts that he and Isaac know that he attained this newfound success through using steroids. Chris admits that he is on the juice but then fires back at Ethan that at least he is doing something with his life because he (and Isaac) feels that Ethan is wasting his, for he has no girlfriend, no money, and makes music that people have never heard, and he tells him that he needs to get his life together.
The trio arrive at the convenience store that they learned is the entrance to the Nutcracker Ball, and after Ethan presents their tickets to the cashier, they are shown into the freezer in the back of the store. A door they open at the back of that leads them into a brightly-lit tunnel, and they take a ride on a kiddie train through it that goes directly into the party. Chris meets up with Tommy and his teammates and tells Tommy that he failed to bring the weed, but Tommy points out a small sleigh full of it sitting nearby, making his whole struggle to get it pointless. Tommy and the others also mock him for the karaoke session he did with Ethan and Isaac back at the bar, which was recorded and posted online. Isaac meets up with Sarah and they return each other’s phones, and he finds out that the “James” who has been sending Sarah pictures of his penis is James Franco (himself) when James comes up to Sarah. James hits it off with Isaac and even invites him to dance with him and Sarah, much to Sarah’s chagrin. As Ethan searches the party for Diana, he runs into Miley Cyrus (herself), and after talking about how Diana is a big fan of hers and he sees Diana as the love of his life and wants to do something special for her, Miley draws the conclusion that he wants to propose to her tonight. Ethan clarifies that he actually just wants her to dedicate a song to Diana, but Miley encourages him to propose, given that it is Christmastime and love is in the air this time of year (something that Chris’ mother [Lorraine Toussaint] also said to him earlier on while telling him that he should make up with Diana), and she tells him that she will help him out. He goes up on stage with her and sings some of “Wrecking Ball” to Diana, then proposes to her. She says “yes”, but once she gets him in private, she turns his proposal down, explaining that he is only doing it because he is reaching out to her as a lifeline because his friends don’t want to hang out with him at Christmas anymore (plus she didn’t want to say “no” in front of Miley and all of those people). She lastly tells him that she is not his answer to his problems, then leaves his presence as well as the party.
Moments later, Isaac causes a few painful accidents to happen to Chris’ teammates, but before they can beat him up, Chris comes to Isaac’s defense and keeps them from attacking by pulling out his phone and recording them. Shortly afterward, both Chris and Isaac get thrown out of the party by security. Meanwhile, Ethan goes up to the roof to think about things, and he is surprised up there by his marijuana dealer, Mr. Green (Michael Shannon). Mr. Green reveals that he is the creator and mystery host of the Nutcracker Ball, and he started it 20 years ago after he read The Great Gatsby and became inspired by the parties Jay Gatsby threw. After seeing that Ethan is clearly bothered by the events of tonight, Mr. Green tells him that his friends are never going to leave him and they need him, and then he offers him a special marijuana joint. When Ethan smokes it, he finds himself recalling the memory of Christmas 2001 when he, Isaac, and Chris started their holiday ritual together after Ethan’s parents were killed by a drunk driver, and how they told him that they were his new family now. Soon after, Ethan hears Chris and Isaac yelling at the bouncers that their friend is still inside, so Ethan gets their attention and tells them that he is coming down, then he thanks Mr. Green and leaves.
While sitting together on a bench as morning dawns, Ethan, Isaac, and Chris reconcile their differences, and Ethan acknowledges that his proposal to Diana was stupid and he did it because he was scared of being alone, but he really does like her a lot. Isaac remarks that it is hard to stay friends with people when you get older because you have so many of your own responsibilities to tend to, but Chris tells him that they will just have to try harder. Suddenly, Betsy calls Isaac and tells him that she has gone into labor, and after the guys complain about how they won’t be able to get a taxi to the hospital she has been taken to at this time of day in the part of town that they are in, Ethan spots Mr. Green’s car parked nearby with the driver’s door wide open. They all hop into it and drive away, and Mr. Green suddenly appears after they leave and sprouts angel’s wings and flies up into the sky, revealing him to be an angel who was helping the trio in order to earn his wings. The guys reach the hospital and run into Cindy, who informs Isaac that Betsy’s labor turned out to be a false alarm. Isaac goes to see Betsy, and he tells her that the drugs she gave him sent him on a “spirit quest” and helped him to realize that he wasn’t being honest with her regarding his feelings about the baby. He then plays the mushroom-and-cocaine-fueled rant he recorded on his phone where he felt terrified about having a child, and she tells him that, while she finds the video funny, she is also a little relieved that he feels insecure about being a parent since she is insecure about being a parent herself.
The guys spend Christmas morning with Betsy, Cindy, and the latter’s husband and children, and later, Chris has dinner with his mother and confesses to her that he is on steroids, and she tells him that he will need to tell this to the world as well, which he more or less accepts is a must. Ethan visits Diana at her parents’ house, where he apologizes for what he did last night and for harming their relationship because he wouldn’t meet her parents (or let her move into his place). He tells her that he was scared to do that because, given the fact that Chris and Isaac have been his family for the last ten years, meeting her family would’ve changed everything. But now, he has accepted that change is inevitable and we all have to grow up, and he wants to grow up with her and wants to have a family with her one day. She admits that she knew that he was going to be at that karaoke bar because Betsy told her, and she asks Betsy about him all the time and Betsy tells her about all the times that he has asked about her. He then asks if he can come in, saying that he wants to meet her parents now, and they soon kiss before they go inside.
One year later, we see Ethan, Isaac, Chris, Diana, Betsy, Chris’ mother, and Cindy and her family having Christmas dinner together at Isaac’s home, and the guys sing a soft version of “Christmas Time” by Run DMC to Isaac’s baby daughter to try to put her to sleep. We then see that everything that has transpired is a story being read out by Santa Claus (Tracy Morgan) to his elves, and he gives a special thanks to Mr. Green, who is his son, for what he did.