Friday, June 14, 2013

This Is the End: Movie Review

How to make a stoner comedy with a bunch of friends and turn it into a smart, 
shrewd and hilarious statement on humanity.

A vanity project for a bunch of the highest paid comedic actors, playing themselves in a “stoner comedy”. So how do you make that good? By making it an hilarious, smart, insightful, satirical and scathing commentary on religion, celebrity and Hollywood. And how do you make that successful? By making it a stoner comedy about a hapless group of actors saying and doing the stupidest things. 2013

Directed by: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen

Screenplay by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson

It actually starts out pretty slowly with a lame story being introduced. Jay Baruchel comes to LA to hang out with his friend Seth Rogen who wants to hang out with his friends James Franco, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson, but Jay doesn’t like his friends and he doesn’t think that they like him. Sounds kind of lame doesn’t it? The party at James Franco’s house delivers the ridiculous, raunchy comedy which the target audience craves but it doesn’t yet include the intelligence which the rest of the audience is applauding.

It seems like everybody in Hollywood is at James Franco’s house. Michael Cera is doing coke, Jonah Hill is being friendly and everybody else is finding another drug to imbibe. While Jay and Seth are off to buy cigarettes, the Heavens open up and the Earth caves in. And then the real fun begins. Knowing the title of the film, or having read the bible, or really having seen any loose interpretation of the apocalypse, it’s pretty obvious what is happening. And we get our first glimpse of the film’s take on the celebrity culture and what it does (and what will eventually happen) to those at the center of it.

Our heroes aren’t quite sure what’s going on. Remember, they are actors in Hollywood. It’s probably an earthquake, or it could be a zombie invasion, or it could be the end of the world as described in the New Testament’s Revelation. But who believes that stuff?

The majority of the film takes place with our five actors holed up in James Franco’s house – which is like a cement cave designed by himself since he’s an artist. The jokes are vulgar, crass, silly but also incredibly insightful into who they are and the result is a perfectly written self-parody. You have to get past a lot of penis jokes, but once you do, you’ll find an under-current tackling the issues of celebrity status but also of celebrities’ biggest detractors, the religious congregation. I don’t think “This Is the End” will be successfully duplicated any time soon, but I also don’t foresee the apocalypse hitting any time soon.
Best of 2013

Similar Titles:

Spring Breakers (2012) - Breaks the spring-break-genre mold by telling a dark story of college girls going to darker and darker places.

Horrible Bosses (2011) - Adding coarse and sexual content to make a plot-rich story funny.