I went into This Is the End with slight trepidation. The trailers made it looks fantastic. I was afraid however that this would turn out to be another ‘trailer film’ which so many comedies fall victim off these days. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This Is the End is without a doubt one of the funniest and most original comedies of the last few years.
Written and directed by both Set Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad, Funny People), This Is the End stars an ensemble cast of basically anyone who’s been in one of the Apatow films recently. In fact, given the film’s tone and sense of humour, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was in fact, a Judd Apatow film.
The film’s plot is fairly basic, but that’s not a bad thing. A bunch of celebrities gather for a party at James Franco’s new house, and whilst the party is in full swing, the rapture/apocalypse begins to happen. The rest of the film is about the remaining group simply surviving after several of their celebrity friends get swallowed by a massive sinkhole outside the house, or simply just run away. There’s a slight thread of morality running through the film and the central group wondering why they haven’t been taken up to heaven with the other good people. Really though the plot is just a thin vehicle for what has to be one of the best comedy casts in a long time.
The cast have so much chemistry, you can overlook some of the rougher parts of the script. The core group consists of – take a deep breath – Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and for a brief period, Danny McBride. The latter of which eats most of the food, drinks the water, generally is a dick and then go’s away, only to return brilliantly later in the movie. Having the entire cast play themselves was a stroke of genius that could have backfired horribly if these stars hadn’t been willing to make fool’s of themselves.
No one takes themselves seriously here, and everyone is having a lot of fun. It really shines through. No one is above poking fun at themselves. It work’s great, as an audience there’s no envy at how awesome Franco’s house is, or the lifestyle these guys lead, we know it’s all tongue in cheek.
There are a couple of marks missed in the script. These pertain to fart and dick jokes, they lower the tone of the film and actually feel out of place in a film that usually rises above these types of jokes. Rogen and co. have become synonymous with these types of films and the jokes that go with them, but This Is the End was often above that. There’s also a few scenes involving Emma Watson, who finds her way back to the house, only to have Jay call a group meeting to make sure no one is giving off ‘rapey’ vibes. It’s funny, don’t get me wrong, but it all felt forced and as a vehicle for Watson to get pissed off, and well, as Danny McBride puts it, “We just got robbed by Hermione”.
There are A LOT of cameo’s in This Is the End, with particular highlights being Michael Cera, playing a coked-up sex maniac version of himself. He steals the show in the films opening scenes and you have to admire him for completely subverting our expectations of him as the clean-cut nerd in the room. Rihanna makes an appareance, as does Jason Segal. I won’t list any more because part of the fun is seeing all these celebrities you know and (possibly) love having a blast poking fun at the culture and expectations of them. The best cameo comes right at the end, and it’s Zombieland levels of great cameo. You’ll know what i’m talking about when you see it.
This Is the End is absolutely bonkers. There are hell demon’s with giant cocks that rape Jonah Hill. There are giant dog like beasts chasing Robinson and Baruchel around like something from a Benny Hill sketch. Hermione robs a group of fully grown adult men. This movie is nuts and deserves to be seen. I put it up there with comedies like Superbad and Pineapple Express. It’s funny, it’s juvenile in places, but it has great heart. You love all of these actors and you want to see them survive, you want to see them get their blue light ride up to heaven. Everyone brings their A game here and a lot of love has been put into the script and the performances.
I just can’t wait for a full blown ‘The Exorcism of Jonah Hill’ spin-off.