"This is the End" (2013)- Movie Review

Written/Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco and Jonah Hill

‘Inventive Humor’

Hollywood is an industry with immense scope and glamour. Its made up of talented and determined film stars that work together to create entertainment for mass audiences. Yet, one question has haunted me for most of my life: what is the lifestyle of a famous celebrity really like? We are all aware of the fact that Hollywood is one of the leading film industries in the world, and perhaps the most popular one. However, what do actors do in their free-time? Is their life a demanding, work-oriented one or a laid-back joke full of parties?

Seth Rogen’s latest comedy “This is the End” proves that the latter is correct, and that Hollywood is nothing but a fun and enjoyable experience. The film depicts the industry in a rather exaggerated manner where parties are relevant, drugs are galore and everyone wants to have a great time. It centers around a concept that hasn’t been ventured into before: actors playing themselves. Although the film is ultimately overtly self-indulgent and nonsensical at times, the interesting concept paves the way for smart, original and inventive humor that surges through every corner of the movie like blood in veins. Admittedly, the actors on board provide a type of humor that’s targeted towards a very specific age group but there’s more to this comedy than just that. Not only is it resoundingly, nearly spot-on consistent in terms of delivering laughs, it’s concept is also one that allows for open humor that isn’t confined by anything.

Set in modern day era, the film follows close friends/celebrities Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel, who decide to go to James Franco’s house for a big party. Yet, what seemed like a fun time immediately turns into a disaster as the friends face an end-of-the-world apocalypse that threatens to wipe out humanity. Their only hope is to take shelter at Franco’s house.

The story is simple, and quite basic if not for the ‘actors-playing-themselves’ formula that makes it something much greater in spectacle and out of the ordinary. Take away this specific approach of telling a story, and you’ve got an ordinary, run-of-the-mill movie that isn’t as funny as “This is the End”. Take away the cast of gifted actors….then comes the doomsday where the movie wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

At the moment, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are standing tall as magicians of the comedy genre. Despite creating a film so crazy, absurd and disgusting that it could turn off a certain age group, the pair of filmmakers have also accomplished a rare aspect that comedies these days often fail to reach: laugh-out-loud humor. We’re not talking about a couple of chuckles, but numerous often out-of-breath laughs that are as consistent as the thrills of a roller coaster ride. Yet a fascinating aspect of these laughs is that they come out of the most random, weirdest scenes when you least expect them. This creates a sense of unpredictability and engages the viewer in a way that most comedies can’t. Its one of the main reasons why “The is the End” is so refreshing and revitalizing in a year filled with unoriginality. Seth Rogen and a talented crew almost never let you down, and no matter how over-the-top and silly the humor gets, it’s handled using nearly seamless execution.

The screenwriters elevate the expectations of what one usually expects from these types of movies. Like an adrenalin rush to the senses, their writing makes the film engaging from start to finish without a dull moment. Its all due to rare and nearly unstoppable energy that resides within the script. The writers, Rogen and Goldberg, fill it witty dialogue, inventive situations and hilarious interactions between people. They have a fantastic sense of timing for humor, and endlessly come up with memorable jokes/lines. What really makes this script stand out is just how consistent it is in terms of delivering humor. The writers are certainly gifted; their work possess an extraordinary energy that like the constant movement of electricity through a plug, keeps on surprising and immersing the viewer till the very end.

Casting choices couldn’t have been better either. The entire ensemble of actors is splendid, with each star having their own moment to shine. In fact, it’s such a well-realized group of celebrities that its hard to imagine anyone else playing their specified parts. Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, as well as Craig Robinson all make for a wonderful bunch of actors, dominating the screen like they were born for the job. Although their performances seem to be created out of mere thin air, with almost no work involved, the chemistry that they have with each other is charming. Not once do you get the feeling that these guys are out-of-place or miscast.

In the supporting cast its hard not to mention the amusing, and sometimes shocking cameos from various celebrities. Particular standouts are Michael Cera as a drug-infused idiot, Channing Tatum as a badly treated gimp and Emma Watson as a rather brave version of herself.

Yet even whilst gaining the most laughs of the year, “This is the End” isn’t quite perfect. An irritating aspect of the film is just how self-indulgent it gets. Problems are created when the movie becomes too self-indulgent, since it seems like the filmmakers are reaching for desperate comedy and forceful humor. Some of the scenes, that involve vomit and pee jokes, are extremely unnecessary and quite disgusting for a viewer to taken in. To be honest, the filmmakers almost seem out of ideas at times. Leaning towards shock-value gross humor isn’t the proper solution.

And as a result, “This is the End” is not meant for everyone. Of course, people under 15 are likely to scratch their heads at the humor but even those over that age may not care for it. As it deals with inappropriate and dirty content, it’s simply targeted towards those that find it funny. If you don’t find it amusing and dislike any of the main actors, there’s no point in going out of your way to watch this film.

It may be targeted towards a specific audience of movie-goers, yet there’s no denying the uniqueness of this movie. It’s a delightful treat for those who find the particular humor appealing, and with one of the most unexpected endings ever, it leaves a wide grin on your face that you aren’t able to erase for days.

4/5 stars

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