This Is The End

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Posted June 12, 2013 by in

Rating

Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

2.5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: comedy
 
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
 
MPAA Rating: R
 
Actors: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson
 
Length: 107 minutes
 
Release Date: 6/12/2013
 
Studio: Columbia Pictures (presents), Mandate Pictures, Point Grey Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)
 
 
What We Thought

All-star cast gets outdone by a B-movie that got there first.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Within days of each other, Craig Robinson appears in two comedies about The Rapture.  The first, Rapture-Palooza, is a limited release with little hype behind it.  The second, This Is The End, is a much-hyped, major release appearing in every multiplex.  Rapture­-Palooza got there first, and hit its target better than the bigger budget picture that resembles it.
     In This Is The End, Jay Baruchel visits his friend Seth Rogen in L.A.  Jay just wants to hang out with Seth, but Seth wants to go to a party at James Franco’s new house.  Seth obliges him, and ends up at a party where he barely knows anyone.
     Then a massive earthquake hits L.A., and shafts of light appear from the sky; The Rapture has come to the City of Angels, but few people there are getting called up to Heaven.
     Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, and Jonah Hill all hole up at James Franco’s place.  Danny McBride soon joins them, and stirs things up, doing whatever he pleases.  Jay and Jonah hate each other, and James hides a stash of food from his guests, sharing only with his best bud Seth.  They bicker like children over dwindling resources—most essential of all, water.
     Craig ventures outside to get water, but hastily retreats back inside when he catches a glimpse of a creature, possibly a demon.  The group soon realizes that The Rapture has indeed come, and they must figure out how they can be saved, or suffer Hell on Earth.
     Unlike Rapture-PaloozaThis Is The End doesn’t satirize The Rapture—it embraces it, and isn’t nearly as funny precisely because of its veneration.  The irreverent Rapture-Palooza makes the Apocalypse look ridiculous, with prophesied torments turning out to be mere annoyances,  and portraying the Anti-Christ (Craig Robinson) as a randy jackass.  This Is The End, on the other hand, takes its subject matter more seriously than a comedy should—that is, when it actually deals with The Rapture at all.
     This Is The End is more about celebrities making fun of themselves and their careers, to the film’s detriment as a comedy.  Sex jokes from Craig Robinson as himself get a few laughs.  Sex jokes from Craig Robinson as the Anti-Christ in Rapture-Palooza are much funnier because the difference in expectation is far more vast.
     Rapture-Palooza wasn’t about celebrity cameos, pop culture references, or spoofing well-known movies. This Is The End is about all of that.  There’s a cheap shot at Lindsey Lohan, a target that’s too easy for a joke that’s getting old, and a scene references Rosemary’s Baby without making fun of it (though a scene parodying The Exorcist gets a laugh or two).
     As a story, there’s rarely a sense of a goal, of the characters working towards something.  They aren’t trying to do much other than just survive (and get really high).  In Rapture-Palooza, the story has direction; Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) tries to imprison the Anti-Christ.  A story can carry you through when the jokes aren’t working, which is the case at times with This Is The End.
     That is to say, it’s not that it’s unfunny.  As a comedy, This Is The End is hit-or-miss.  Extended riffs on Milky Way candy bars chew up screen time with little to show for it, but Robinson’s exaggerated reaction to a mere cut finger gets a laugh, and there’s a funny misunderstanding when young Emma Watson tries to stay in a house filled with six rough-talking guys.  This Is The End is on par with recentThe Internship, itself an average comedy.
     As filmmaking, This Is The End is a freshmen effort for co-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who previously collaborated on the screenplays for The WatchSuperbad, and Pineapple Express.  Frankly, the directorial inexperience shows.  Establishing shots of an apocalyptic L.A. are too short, close-ups are overused, and the film language is all over the place, with no consistent look or feel to it.  Much of the time, it’s hard to say what This Is The End is trying to do or be.  It occasionally flirts with being a parody of the horror genre like Cabin In The Woods, but save the Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist references, it lacks Cabin‘s specificity, of a sense of what exactly is being made fun of.
     That is, when it’s trying to be a movie at all, as blatant, excessive product placements often make This Is The End feel like a commercial you have to pay to watch.  Seth and Jay make a big to-do over going to Carl’s Jr., the gushing over Milky Way candy bars is transparent, and there’s obvious plugs for Nutella and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, among other consumer goods.  I realize that’s the business—even Silver Linings Playbook had product placements, but at least it wasn’t in-your-face about it.  Just eat your damn candy bar or whatever and be quiet it about it.
     This Is The End is The Avengers of young Hollywood, or at least it wants to be.  It has everyone you’d want in it, if star-worship is your thing, but the more stars that are thrown on, the more of an obligation there is to do something with them worthy of their talent, comedic or otherwise.  Movie 43 had far more stars, and look how that turned out.
     It is what it is; an average comedy, but mediocre as a film.  Laughter, is however, a powerful force, and though it’s never a good movie, This Is The End is occasionally a good time.  Taken for what it is, it’s worth a rental or a matinee at most, but that’s about it.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

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