Rogen and Goldberg craft a fun, exciting movie that easily appeals to die-hard fans of the filmmakers.
This is the End revolves around the exaggerated, fictionalized lives of actors Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride. The day begins where Seth picks up his close friend, Jay, from the airport and takes him to his house. The two smoke a lot of weed and play video games. Seth then proposes that he and Jay go to Franco’s housewarming party, so they can hang out with Seth and Franco’s friends. Having a dislike for Los Angeles people and LA culture, Jay eventually concedes and goes with Seth to the party.
At the party, several famous celebrities attend, including Rihanna, Jason Segel, Kevin Hart, Aziz Anzari, and a drug-addled Michael Cera. Suddenly, a seemingly earthquake cracks the ground, leading to many celebs dying to their deaths. The survivors—Rogen, Baruchel, Hill, Robinson, and McBride—take refuge in Franco’s house, boarding up the place and scavenging the food. The group hopes by rationing their food and water that they will survive the “apocalypse” until people come to rescue them.
As they wait for help to come, tensions brew among the group. The longer they stay stranded, without no clear help on the way, the more they realize there’s more to this apocalypse than they thought.
Based off of the short film Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse, This is the End is the directorial debut of the writing/directing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen and Goldberg have written feature-length movies before, with Superbad and Pineapple Express being among the highlights. Now stepping into the director’s chair, do the duo deliver a funny movie just like their previous works? Fortunately, yes. Rogen and Goldberg craft a fun, exciting movie that easily appeals to die-hard fans of the filmmakers. However, for those who were not fans of the filmmakers before will probably not be converted when watching This is the End.
What is so great about This is the End is that it openly mocks its stars. Every actor—Rogen, Franco, Hill, Baruchel, McBride, and Robinson—is put under a microscope, examined, and lampooned of their lifestyles and film careers. In fact, scenes of James Franco showcasing his love for art by hanging up so many paintings in his house or Jonah Hill comparing how great he is to his actor friends is rife with meta humor; as a result, many of these scenes are outrageously funny because of how Rogen and Goldberg carefully examined the lead stars and cockpunches their egos and failures. This is the End also features Rogen’s perennial tropes such as weed and dick jokes. While most of these jokes are funny, some are hit-or-miss. Some jokes are overused, resulting in the gag losing its effectiveness. With the movie filled with a lot of these gags, viewers who were not fans of Rogen and Goldberg’s shtick before will probably not enjoy these scenes. Nevertheless, Rogen and Goldberg incorporate enough broad humor as well as a solid plot and story to keep viewers engaged throughout the proceedings.
In This is the End, the two substantial character arcs are given to Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel. Watching the two start off as good friends and slowly drift apart is riveting and believable—given the information we get from their conversations and the horrible situation they’re in. Despite the great dynamic between Rogen and Baruchel, the others are relegated smaller roles and arcs and, frankly, are given less to do. Rogen and Goldberg do try to assign dramatic weight to each character but, at the end of the day, viewers will care more for what happens to Rogen and Baruchel.
All performers in This is the End deliver solid performances in their respective roles. Every actor has a chance to shine in at least one scene, giving viewers plenty of opportunities to revel in the funny sequences. While every actor is on point, Danny McBride is a scene-stealer. He embodies the role of the instigator and causes most of the disagreements in the film. Watching him butt heads with the other characters create much needed conflict throughout the slow scenes in the first and second act.
The writing duo’s script also features a lot of religious overtones that may irk certain religious viewers who are watching the film. The characters lightly discuss the religious implications in the first and second act, while these same implications become more apparent in the third act. Rogen and Goldberg satirizes the End-of-the-world setting by adding imagery that is depicted in the real-life Bible. By doing this, they openly mock the scenarios in the Bible, which may offend people who believe in God. For those who can look past these jokes and see the humor in them can possibly enjoy the surprising things that pop up in the last half of the film.
On a directorial front, This is the End is a mixed bag of great scene construction and special effects. While the scenes in the house and the euphoric scene are presented with good camerawork and flair, the CGI monsters resemble the bad effects found in video game movies. Watching the monsters mixed into the practical environments doesn’t take you out of the movie experience, but, in a way, makes you wish Rogen and Goldberg upped the ante in visual sophistication. However, considering what the writing/directing team could do on a modest budget of 30 million makes you appreciate all the great things they got right.
As a whole, This is the End is a hit for Rogen and Goldberg. The film showcases a lot of funny sequences, giving the fans a lot of scenes to enjoy. While some may scoff at the things revealed in This is the End, others will find its humor right at home—brought by a good writing/directing duo who have a promising film career ahead of them.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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