This is the End - Movie Review
This film has everything I hate in movies: frat boy antics, pervasive drug use, Hollywood in jokes, an obsession with bodily fluids, movie scene rip-offs, gratuitous gross out gags and a juvenile emphasis on male genitalia—but I still loved it.
This is the End, is a post millennia comedy which clearly has embraced the present manic mantra, “go big or go home.” A group of thirty-something Hollywood hipsters, some of them big movie stars, play themselves in a shaky premise. Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel attend a party at James Franco’s new house in Los Angeles, when an apocalyptic event sends their lives into chaos.
Whenever actors “play” themselves there is a chance that the proceedings will venture into pretension and pomposity. However stars are usually not afraid to make fun of themselves and in the case of This is the End this self-parody adds to the film’s voracious appetite for humor. I am a bit of a James Franco hater. In my opinion he is a grossly overrated actor and a smarmy, apathetic self-important stoner. Therefore you can imagine my delight when Franco comes across exactly like this in This is the End. Finally there is a Franco performance that doesn’t disappoint. All of the actors are not afraid to play up a negative element of their public image or previous performances. Ironically they become more likeable than characters they have portrayed in the past, because here they are vulnerable and fallible, and are ultimately both despicable and courageous. This is a nice change from the two dimensional buffoons most of them have had to be in previous films.
The most impressive thing about This is the End is not its continual ability to one up itself with outrageous, chaotic and unpredictable hysterics, but the fact that it does this in a well structured story that builds and builds and increases audience involvement as the plot progresses. The screenwriters, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg are very effective story tellers that don’t rely on a pack of very funny actors and an anything goes attitude to get laughs, but build a story complete with a great climax and satisfying resolution. Another surprise of This is the End is that it has a solid moral core. Through all its hedonism, excessiveness and supposed shallowness it is a fable about Karma.
But in the end, This is the End is a wildly funny ride that had my chuckling, cackling and laughing out loud throughout.
Sunday, April 20, 2014, Watertown, NY