June 17, 2013

Movie Review: This is the End

I can honestly say that I did not see this coming. I expected a fun but potentially dodgy time in the theaters. What I got was an incredibly funny comedy that is great whether you look at it as a whole or in parts. There is just something about this movie that is very appealing. It is crass, over the top, vulgar, funny, violent, and just utterly ridiculous, but it as this underlying thread of friendship and even something of a reflection on celebrity.

This is the End is an expansion on the short Jay & Seth vs. the Apocalypse that they made with Evan Goldberg a few ears ago. Somehow, they were able to get the backing to expand that idea into a full length feature. I am so glad they did, here we are ready to benefit from their good fortune.

The tale opens with Seth Rogen picking up long time pal Jay Baruchel at LAX. May is making one of his infrequent trips to Los Angeles as he is not a fan of the culture and is looking forward to a night of beer, video games, and weed at Seth's place. However, plans change and Seth is able to convince Jay to go to a party being thrown by James Franco at his recently built new home. Jay is not exactly keen on going, but is eventually convinced.

So, the duo head over to Franco's and we find a party littered with recognizable faces, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, Martin Starr, Rihanna, and coke fiend Michael Cera. We also meet up with the rest of our primary cast. All is going well for Seth and awkward for Jay until a side trip to a convenience store puts the, face to face with the end of the world.

Jay and Seth make it back to Franco's where they hole up with Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride. Here, they attempt to survive the apocalypse going on outside, and try to put up with each other as the friends get on each others nerves, bicker about the smallest of things, yet ultimately fight for survival as a unit.

On the surface, you could look at this as a survival horror buddy comedy mash. It works great on that level. However, of you watch a little bit deeper you will see stars looking at and reflecting on their stardom and the excesses that go along with it. It may not be the most original, but the combination of a comedic end of the world situation combined with stars reflecting on their place in relation to everything else makes for an interesting mélange.

It's funny, as I left the theater, I could not help but think of this as the geek version of Grown Ups, only much, much, much, much better. Both are movies made by a group of Frieda looking to have fun and make a movie. The bog difference is that one of those groups actually made something interesting while the others just brought cameras on their summer vacation.

In This is the End you have a cast of Hollywood stars playing bizarre alternative universe versions of themselves. It is my understanding that some of the actors had elements of themselves exaggerated while others were written against type, the result is hilarious and plays up the theme of friendship and gives a look at their fame from a unique angle.

Still, what this movie comes down to is sheer entertainment. You all sorts of stars appearing throughout, you have stars doing crazy things, friends arguing over stupid things. Inside the oppose you have inner demons coming out and outside among the smoldering Hollywood hills you have actual demons trying to get in.

You will laugh, you will cry (from laughing), and you will laugh some more. This has to go down as a complete surprise for just how good it is. It feel genuine and real, exaggerated, sure, but there is a genuine honesty to it. There is no BS. These characters are who they are and I would not have it any other way.

Highly Recommended.

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