This is the End Movie Review – What’s funnier than celebrities acting like absolute idiots for a movie? When they are playing as themselves! That’s right – every celebrity in ‘This is the End’ plays themselves… and have a lot of fun being portrayed as party-loving, drug-partaking, selfish whack jobs. (A divergence from reality? I’ll let you decide) Imagine the out-of-control party craziness as seen in ‘Superbad’ and ‘Project X’… but with a bunch of stoned and cracked out celebs enjoying a massive house party at James Franco’s Hollywood mansion. As one might imagine from the get go, the sheer volume of drug and sex jokes nearly drowns out the strangely doomsday-esque scenario – the apocalypse.
Seth Rogan has worked with James Franco and Jonah Hill before on films like ‘Superbad’, ‘Pineapple Express’ and ‘The Watch’. Taking that into account, one can immediately make certain relations between those films and their more recent project, ‘This is the End’. So if you have seen those films and enjoyed them, possibly while in some compromised state of mind, this film is a bit of a doozy because it delivers far more punchlines and allows for a reality tv show-like setting. Imagine seeing the cast of MTV’s ‘Real World’ barricaded in a house together… and stoned like crazy while the world around them is literally burning. The truly enjoyable notion here is that every celebrity at Franco’s house was left behind; out of heaven and to endure the apocalypse – essentially implying that they’re all pretty horrible people. Thankfully, most of these actors clearly had a great sense of humor and took making fun of themselves in stride. Seeing big names like Rihanna and Channing Tatum subjecting themselves to hilariously embarrassing cameos shows that they too have a sense of humor and, hopefully, don’t take themselves too seriously.
There has, of course, been some discussion about the apocalyptic nature of this film. Is it intended to be a religious reference? No. The use of the apocalypse in the story helps to explore a scenario intended to be funny. It’s basically setting the stage for a ‘what if’ type of plot line. Because our leading cast (Franco, Rogan, Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson) are all left behind, they eventually begin to lose their grip on sanity… as would could imagine is intended to add a new level of humor. Honestly, most of the story takes place inside the barricaded house. For this reason, we begin to question whether or not what’s going on outside is truly the apocalypse.
Far too reliant on the jokes of their previous films, just about every sentence is delivered as a punchline that’s practically reliving the past. And as was the case in ‘The Watch’, the involvement of male ejaculate in conversation more than likely takes up nearly ten minutes of screen time – no joke. It’s not that I don’t necessarily care for piss and fart humor; it’s just that all of these jokes have been explored before. So what makes ‘This is the End’ so enduring, if at all? The formula of having actors play themselves so mercilessly, in this case, is a winning factor. These guys obviously enjoy working together and have developed a type of chemistry that their fan base has come to recognize.
A huge setback is the film’s tendency to swerve wildly between the several highway lanes that separate seriousness and total stupidity. There are no fine lines (or ‘walking along the fence’) here. Conversations between our leads jump radically from being rib-cracking (and inappropriately) funny to eerily serious; even borderline morally reflective. This odd combination of moods is present throughout all the way to the climactic 20 minutes, where again, the horror/comedy combo can’t seem to settle on any sensible middle ground. Is there a message or general idea that’s being implied here? Maybe this is a way of the actors seeking forgiveness for the crudeness of their previous works? No and no. ‘This is the End’, the brainchild of Set Rogan, was created for the reason of sharing some laughs and poking fun at a wide range of topics, religion included.
If you’ve enjoyed Rogan’s previous projects and feel you’re ready to endure the excesses in drug use, sexual references, gratuitous childishness, abnormally large penises, blood and gore, and the exorcism of Jonah Hill, then you’ll absolutely love this film. Consider that a warning to anyone not familiar with the above-mentioned content. This movie is practically the holy grail of Rogan’s trashy comedy writing. But it falls short in delivering anything more than recycled material and an excuse for interesting celebrity cameos – like Emma Watson going all bad ass on the leading men. I would try to mention the inclusion of interesting monster effects and video game-like set design, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for anyone… is that’s even possible. Believe me; just when you think it’s over, there’s one more surprise in store for the audience that will have you leaving the theater shaking your head, maybe chuckling a bit, and asking WTF?