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This is The End – Movie Review

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This is The End – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

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It is interesting to note that in apocalyptic disaster movies, we don’t tend to think about what is happening to celebrities during this crisis. Being extremely wealthy, it is highly possible they managed to get out with little trouble while our middle-class heroes try to rescue themselves. This is the End presents the comic scenario that maybe their wealth and egotism has caused them to stay behind in the event of a biblical apocalypse. Directors/writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have utilised their relaxed stoner comedy style in showing regular Hollywood folks sucked into this major predicament. While the material does not rise above their typical low-brow humour, this is a funny and enjoyable romp.

Right from the start, the screenplay establishes the actors are playing over-the-top versions of themselves, while simultaneously poking fun at their images. Rogen and his friends are obviously knowledgeable at how people perceive them and they are more than game to portray themselves as self-absorbed individuals. The best example of this is Michael Cera, commonly remembered for playing stammering, nervous types is seen in full-on cocaine mode and shatters his image in his few minutes of screen-time. Some of the biggest laughs come at the start when we meet these distorted versions of James Franco, Emma Watson, Craig Robinson, Cera and others. When six of the “Apatow Crew” actors are stuck in Franco’s house for the majority of the film, a lot of the fun comes from their banter as they try to survive. Each actor is written with individual personalities pertaining to them and this allows for some enjoyable interaction between them. Of course, their characters are written in great, over-exaggerated manners like Jonah Hill’s extreme niceness and Robinson is portrayed as a coward. However, Watson’s screen time is surprisingly small and her story-arc is not given a proper conclusion. The frequently hilarious Aziz Ansari also feels like a lot of his scenes were cut out.

The most surprising actor to steal the show is Danny McBride. I tend to find his antics hit-or-miss, but making him into the most unlikeable actor in the group actually makes him the funniest. One entire section where he unapologetically rants about his incorrect ability at pleasuring himself is non-stop laughter, despite the crassness of the dialogue. McBride also appears alongside the biggest and funniest surprise cameo in This is The End. Considering this group’s previous comedies, there is an abundance of drug and penis jokes and these will fly with people or not. However, I felt a good chunk of those bits do manage to work. Frankly, This is the End is hardly attains a Marx Brothers level of sophisticated comedy and character development is thrown out of the window. The screenplay tries to explore aspects of the actors dealing with their own egos, but those are the moments where the film slows down a tad. The middle section tends to drag a tiny bit, but it picks up again when the final act begins.

 However, Rogen and Goldberg deserve to be commended for their skilled direction. When the Rapture begins, it is actually quite scary as most of the laughs come from the actors’ reactions. Maybe due to using actors playing “themselves”, it adds an element of horror and one of the highlights of the first act is seeing the result of the giant sinkhole that forms in front of Franco’s house. Michael Cera’s particularly gruesome and funny death (disappointedly spoiled by the marketing) immediately raises the stakes for the adventure. The computer-generated monsters that appear are also very impressive for a film on a rather decent budget and one wonders the reaction from the visual effects artists asked to animate these creatures. Queasy folks will be disturbed by the large amounts of gore and other gross effects that pore over the screen, some of which include decapitations and more vomit than in The Exorcist. Rogen and Goldberg certainly do not hold back in both humour and blood.

 With This is The End, your enjoyment of this film will definitely depend on your  fondness for stoner humour and most importantly, if you typically like the antics of Seth Rogen and his band of misfits. Modern comedy fans will get a kick out of the small nods to the actors’ careers, but your mileage may vary on how one might feel about the many penis jokes. Despite a couple of kinks, This is the End is a creative and inventive idea executed in a funny way and shows how more than any other group in Hollywood, these folks know exactly what they are.

Review By: Stefan Ellison


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