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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on This is the End

this_is_the_end

Seth Rogen and his longtime writing parter Evan Goldberg make their directorial debuts with the apocalyptic horror/comedy This is the End.  The film is an expansion of a 2007 short they wrote entitled Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse.  The film features an allstar cast of actors, all playing themselves, who have become popular in the last decade for starring in films with each other, typically ones produced by Judd Apatow (who has no involvement with this film).

This is the End begins with Jay Baruchel travelling to Los Angeles to visit his close friend Seth Rogen.  Jay is not really a fan of LA and considers himself a bit of an outsider among Seth and his Hollywood friends.  This is evident when they two of them head to a party at James Franco’s house and mingle with the likes of Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride.  However, LA is suddenly engulfed in flames and a giant sinkhole opens up in Franco’s front yard, which swallows up most of the comedy talent in Hollywood.  It seems that the apocalypse has begun and the six friends have to sit tight and resolve their personal issues, if they ever expect to survive the end of the world.

This is the End works as a meta-commentary on the careers of all the actors involved, all while providing gloriously over-the-top (and gory) apocalyptic set pieces.  All the actors are playing amped up versions of themselves and there are constant references throughout the film to the trajectory their careers have taken.  For instance, James Franco is positioned as an overindulging Hollywood star, who rivals Jay Baruchel’s status as Seth Rogen’s best friend.  The film also features a multitude of stunt-casted cameos, most of which I want to keep secret.  However, I will mention Michael Cera poking fun at his “awkward nice guy” persona, by portraying himself as drugged out jerk, as well as Harry Potter’s Emma Watson’s scene stealing (and foul mouthed) appearance in the film.

The events in the outside world take a bit of a backseat in the second act, as the actors hide out in James Franco’s house and try to wait out the carnage.  While some jokes in this section may come off as dumb to some (a “Gangnam Style” drug trip comes to mind), I still found myself having a very good time and laughing at these actors playing off each other.  I would suspect that there was much improvisation utilized in this film and it is obvious that these guys have great chemistry with each other.  I should also note that the film pushes the humour to the extremes and it does quite get quite lowbrow in places (including a few demonic appendages).  I should also mention that there was a callback to one of Rogen and Goldberg’s earlier films, which was definitely be a crowd pleasing moment.

The film was almost worth the price of admission for the third act alone, which pushes the apocalyptic elements of the film to the forefront.  In fact, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised how much horror there was in the film, which even included a few scares.  This is not a genre you typically equate with these actors, so it was definitely a treat seeing them react to gory visuals and demonic creatures chasing them around.  Seeing these guys in this context is what made me enjoy this film so much.

Overall, I have to say that This is the End is probably the best thing Seth Rogen and company has done in quite a while.  It is obvious that their act was getting a bit stale, which is even referenced in the film, so it is great for them to freshen things up with a very unique and different comedy.  This is the End is most definitely my favourite comedy of the year so far and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

10 | LOVED IT  

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).