I don’t think there has been a film to come out in recent memory that had me so entertained and yet so disappointed as ‘This is the End’. It’s not that my expectations were astronomical, and like I said, I was entertained immensely, but there was something about the film itself that left me feeling like it kept pulling itself back from being great. It’s so preposterous and so outlandish and yet I couldn’t help but feel that most of the film was skirting around actually being as preposterous and as outlandish as it wanted to be.
Don’t get me wrong; this film is ridiculously off-color and offensive and yet…not?
Maybe it’s just that we’ve become so desensitized by the barrage of Judd Apatow films that throw everything in our face and dare us to get offended, but I found very few things about this film particularly inventive in the idea of outrageous comedy, and I even think other films have gone further and been more creative in their use of offence to entertain (like, ‘Tropic Thunder’ steamrolls this film in making the offensive so utterly digestible while maintaining a level of shock). Still, while nothing feels inventive or new, the cast is hilariously on point and they sell everything.
Also, is it just me or was this one of the best films since ‘Being John Malkovich’ to exploit the stereotype of celebrity while giving actors a perfect canvas to make fun of their own reputations?
So, ‘This is the End’ basically takes ‘Project X’, mixes in something like ‘Cloverfield’ and sprinkles in ‘The Exorcist’, all the while trying to one-up those ‘Scary Movie’ films by having all these actors do all this ridiculous stuff as themselves. The film’s plot, or what there is of one, has Jay Baruchel coming to L.A. to spend time with Seth Rogen. The two have drifted apart because Rogen is a Hollywood sell out and Baruchel is rather self-righteous and jealous of Rogen’s new field of friends, which include James Franco and Jonah Hill. The night that Jay arrives in L.A., Seth takes him to Franco’s house warming party and soon the world starts to end, the apocalypse is in full swing and comedians start dying all over the place. Cera is impaled, Watson becomes a warrior queen and Robinson survives far longer than one would expect (you know, since the black guy always dies first); and then there is Channing Tatum, but you need to see that for yourself.
In parts, so much of this works because it is pretty hysterical. The ‘getting high and filming the sequel to ‘The Pineapple Express’’ scene was glorious, the cannibal scene was epic and that Backstreet Boy reunion in heaven is probably the single greatest moment in film for the entirety of 2013, and yet with all that goodness I couldn’t help but feel like it just didn’t all come together like I thought it would have. There were too many moments where I’d come off of a HUGE laugh by being almost entirely bored with a while scene. The film just wasn’t tonally consistent, and I expected that from these guys. The entire cast is so ON this. Franco and Hill are easily the best in show here, completely destroying themselves by exaggerating their off-screen personas (or what we perceive them to be) and making the most of every scene (Jonah constantly thinking he’s above everyone else while pretending to be genuine, and Franco cracking joke after joke about his sexuality) but I have to say that some of these scenes just lasted too long or lost their edge too quickly.
Alright, that joke isn’t funny anymore. It’s time to move on.
I give this a solid B. It was entertaining and in parts utterly hilarious, but this needed a trim (why is a film like this almost two hours long?) and Emma Watson obviously needed more screen-time.
But seriously, this will always be a win because of this: