As far as comedies go, 2013 has been slacking. A few laughs and a couple of giggles, but nothing has truly stuck out enough to break my funny bone. That is until I saw This Is The End. The epic, star-studded comedy brings the Apatow bunch to a whole new level; thanks in-part to co-writers and directorial debut of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. As the world comes to its ultimate demise, This Is The End makes good on delivering one of the raunchiest, most entertaining movies of the year. No topic is taboo and no one is safe.
The events leading up to the apocalypse begin with Jay Baruchel, who has come from Canada to visit Seth Rogen in Los Angeles. These two best friends make up our main protagonists, as this story is based on the original short film Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse. As pizza, video games, alcohol, and of course
a few a lot of pot is consumed, Jay comes to find that Seth would like the two of them to attend James Franco‘s house party. Cautiously reluctant – because he finds Seth’s new LA buddies threatening to their friendship – Jay concedes and they both head over to Franco’s ridiculously large mansion complete with Freaks and Geeks art and penis sculptures.
Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Aziz Ansari – mentioning any more would ruin the fun of the amazing cameos – live it up as the night progresses, indulging in on the pleasures of Hollywood society. But just as the party finds its groove, tremors drive everyone outside only to find Los Angeles engulfed in flames. Panicked, everyone runs about in their own way to find safety as if someone yelled “fire” in a crowded club. Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Robinson, and Hill bunker down in Franco’s palace and board up the doors and windows. Unbeknownst to them, the next morning they find Danny McBride alive and kicking, but eating all of their rations. The six friends must quickly learn to get along and kick in their survivalist instincts if they are to ever make it through the end of the world.
The theory of bringing all of these talented actors together to play themselves is quite unfamiliar territory, but everyone, including the secondary “characters” steps up their game to perform admirably. (On a side note, there seems to be a lot of ragtag team movies lately ever since The Avengers made it big, i.e. Fast & Furious 6, Gangster Squad, Now You See Me.) Although everyone is playing themselves, there is a degree of character to each of the actors to amplify the conflict and dynamic of the group. I’m sure each of these actors are buddy buddy in real life, but that would get boring to see on the screen. I like that they can each be themselves while also adding a little flair to their personas.
Similarly to Superbad, this film tells the tale of two friends who have become increasingly distant. This is the main through line of our story aside from the immediate danger lurking outside casa de Fracno. There is also a little social commentary on celebrity status and Hollywood. And even though this is a comedy at heart, elements of horror, suspense, and action get mixed in making for great genre twisting fun.
This Is The End relies heavily on the audience to have been following the work of these actors for quite some time. There is a ton of referential humor that mention films such as Pineapple Express, Your Highness, 127 Hours, and The Green Hornet so casually in conversation it would be hard to understand if you haven’t seen them. This type of comedy may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy these actors, and have seen most of their filmography, all of the jokes will payoff without fail.
Strangely enough, while every single moment had me rolling on the ground, all of the jokes are not very memorable. The issue here is that the film lacks a certain heart. Superbad is incredibly funny because throughout all the crazy antics you have a sense of commitment to the characters and care about their friendship. And here you couldn’t really care less about any of them. With full emphasis on the comedy, the rookie directors seem to have forgotten all about the true conflict within the story. As soon as the chaos begins to wreck havoc on Earth, the dispute between Seth and Jay is thrown to the wayside as the group struggles to survive.
As knee-slapping as I find this movie, the middle of This Is The End meanders, making the story feel longer than it should be. It would make sense that this story originated as a short film. The whole second act feels directionless and very stretched out. They could have cut out a lot in order to strengthen the relationship between Baruchel and Rogen or put the characters in more situations that would have tested their friendship to forward the story. It takes them awhile to eventually leave the house and it makes for a very rushed ending.
Undoubtedly, This Is The End exceeded my expectations as a fan of all of these actors. Anyone who enjoys this cast of misfits will be greatly rewarded by a film that holds nothing back. On the surface this movie is a gas, and my only wish is that it could have delved deeper into the lives of Jay and Seth so that we could invest more attention to their friendship. Regardless, if you’re looking for a really, really fun time at the movies, This Is The End will not disappoint.
Have you seen This Is The End? Let us know what you think of the film in the comment section below. Haven’t seen it? Watch the official green band trailer here.
This Is The End was co-written/directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, with a run time of 107 minutes. This film has been rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.