Thursday, June 20, 2013

It Came From The Cineplex: This Is The End

This Is The End is a new comedy written and directed by Seth Rogen and his frequent collaborator Evan Goldberg. This was the first time in the director's chair for them both.

This is the third collaboration between Rogen and Goldberg; the two previously wrote Superbad and Pineapple Express.

I'm pretty sure we're witnessing movie history here. Many actors have made cameo appearances as themselves before, but I don't think there's ever been a film in which the ENTIRE cast has played themselves.

It occurred to me while watching the film that, fan of them or not, these guys are Hollywood's new Rat Pack. Rogen and Franco are Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Jonah Hill is Joey Bishop, Craig Robinson is Sammy Davis Jr. and Jay Baruchel is Peter Lawford. There's even Emma Watson as Shirley MacLaine!

Funny how there are currently two movies in the cineplex in which a group of people are holed up in their homes in order to avoid chaos and death outside. The Purge came first and is a miserable and unqualified failure. Fortunately This Is The End came out much better.


The Plot:

Actor Jay Baruchel (played by Jay Baruchel) comes to L.A. to visit his old friend, actor Seth Rogen (played by Seth Rogen). The two go to a riotous house-warming party thrown by actor James Franco (played by James Franco) at his palatial new home. 

During the party the biblical Apocalypse begins, signaling the end of the world. Only a handful of the actors survive, holing up inside Franco's home waiting for rescue that never comes. Eventually they're forced to flee the home and have to figure out a way to get themselves Raptured before it's too late.


This Is The End is a novel idea in filmmaking-- a comedy that's actually funny. Hollywood oughta try that more often (I'm lookin' at you, Hangover trilogy!).

• I was pleasantly surprised that they skipped the done-to-death zombie outbreak and alien invasion routes and went with the biblical apocalypse. That's something you don't often see in mainstream Hollywood films.

• Some fun surprise cameos that I won't spoil here.

• There's kind of a Ghostbusters feel to various demons and monsters in the film. That's a good thing.

• Kudos to the actors for having the guts to poke fun at their images (much to their various managers' horror, I'm sure). It's a risky move on their parts. They're all playing exaggerated versions of themselves, but the general public won't know that and will likely think this is exactly how they really act.

Danny McBride deserves special credit for allowing himself to be portrayed as a complete asshole and the villain of the piece.


• Drags a bit in the middle.

• I'm definitely no biblical scholar, but it seemed awfully easy for the guys to get Raptured up into Heaven at the end. Apparently just one selfless act during the Tribulation is all it takes to make up for a lifetime of sin.

• At one point the gang runs out of water and they attempt to chisel through the floor of Franco's home to reach a supply in the basement. Um… maybe I missed something, but don't most homes have a interior door that leads down to the basement?

Franco did say he designed the house, so maybe this is an example of his architectural handiwork.

• Missed opportunity: at the end of the film James Franco is captured and eaten by cannibals. There should have been a scene in which one of the cannibals tears off Franco's right arm and waves it around, while Seth Rogen says, "Ooh, that's ironic."

• Giant devil penis.

A fun concept that makes for an actually funny comedy, something pretty rare these days. I give it a B.

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