Entertainment Magazine

In Cinemas: This is the End

Posted on the 23 July 2013 by Desertofreel @Kob_Monney

This is the End

I don’t wanna die at James Franco’s house.

The first of two apocalyptic comedies this summer, This is the End is written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad & The Green Hornet) and follows a group of celebrities as they stave off the armageddon at James Franco’s house.

This is the End is a showcase for the immature sensibilities of Rogen and Goldberg, who seemingly have built a career on dick jokes. Well that, and exploring the nature of friendships. For as much as crude humour, sexual immaturity and egotistical stupidity defines their work, the idea of friendship pervades each film they make.

Whether its Jonah Hill’s Seth and Michael Cera’s Evan in Superbad, or Rogen’s Britt Reid and Jay Chou’s Kato in The Green Hornet, friendship factors in a big way and This is the End, along with Superbad, is defined by it. Without friends you won’t get far and when it’s the end of the world, you need help from your friends, right? Not quite. This film puts six actors together and all their petty and childish needs (Milky Bars, masturbation) bring out the worst in each other. Like an apocalyptic Big Brother.

A frequent complaint of a Rogen/Goldberg film is that the thematic threads are hidden behind a vulgar display of human behaviour. To an extent they’re not wrong although it’s a more of a comfortable fit here. Partying at James Franco’s house it’s celebrities you know (and some you don’t) behaving badly. Rogen and Goldberg take the persona of these actors and twist, amplify and subvert with glee.

Michael Cera is a cokehead who slaps Rihanna’s bum and gets both a blowjob and a rim-job (Google it, if you dare). James Franco is pretentious hoarder of art and his own movie props. Jonah Hill is a two-faced arrogant jerk. The actors appear to relish every opportunity to tear each other to shreds, the relaxed atmosphere extending itself to the humour and camaraderie between the cast. Rogen looks a tad more relaxed than he did in The Green Hornet, and that applies to all the actors, each one playing an exaggerated version of themselves.

Plot proves to be less important than humour (natch). A good set-up is what’s required and trapping a bunch of spoilt, immature celebrities who bicker and fight is one you can mine over and over. Danny McBride enters the film half-way through and is effectively human version of dynamite, doing the schtick that McBride does (annoying and self-absorbed characters) and giving the film something of a villain and again riffing off the Big Brother type of character dynamics.

The film hops from one genre to another (survival film, outright horror) keeping events interesting. Nevertheless there are moments of indulgence and the feeling that this isn’t a huge step out of the comfort zone for anyone involved. There are huge visual effects and a scale that’s not been attempted by these directors before, but as soon as they’re indoors it reverts back to the safe, well-worn Judd Apatow staple. This is the End is more dynamic than Apatow but as funny as it can be, there’s an over reliance on the dick/masturbation jokes and ad-libs/references that tend to drag proceedings and waste a few moments here and there.

It’s also lacking much of a female presence. Emma Watson storms into the film wielding an axe and (still) wearing high heels, but like the rest of Rogen/Goldberg’s output, End is very male-orientated.  The whole point of it is to trap a few guys together and the introduction of Watson brings a funny and dark conversation to light, but the lack of and fleshed out female characters disappoints. More often than not they tell their films/jokes from the same perspective and sooner or later, they’re going to run out of dick jokes.

Regardless, if you enjoy their brand of humour then you’ll find much to like in This is the End. With some well-placed cameos (the last ten minutes have a few doozies), the film does more than enough to make you laugh. There is the nagging thought that it could have been even funnier, but what we have is a film that’s occasionally inspired with its jokes and never less than good.


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog