Hollywood funny man Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg attempt to direct a comedy of their own with This is the End — a star-studded end-of-the-world comedy featuring some of Hollywood’s funniest talent all playing themselves. This is the End is about as crude as can be, yet it’s incredibly funny and oftentimes daring in what it attempts to accomplish on the studio front. I’m not quite sure how Rogen and friends managed to get this one made, but I’m sure glad that they did.
Jay Baruchel (himself) is in town to visit his old best bud Seth Rogen (himself). The two used to be close, but ever since Hollywood hit them both they’ve gone their separate ways. Rogen now mostly hangs out with Jonah Hill, James Franco and Craig Robinson, while Baruchel mostly sticks to himself and avoids the glitz and glamor of the Hollywood lifestyle.
Rogen invites Baruchel to James Franco‘s party, which also features known names like Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Rihanna and even Emma Watson. Baruchel is almost instantly bored and quickly finds a way to sneak off for some snacks and cigarettes. While out shopping he and Rogen encounter what seems to be some sort of attack/invasion and what quickly follows is the slow destruction of the entire world.
This is the End is completely nuts. It’s insane, off-the-walls, unpredictable, highly original and just an all-around hilariously good time at the cinemas. I mean that — I really do.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have managed to make a film that doesn’t simply poke at Rogen and his friends, but it full-on punches them in the nuts. Rogen spares no expenses tearing himself a new one, while also mocking his friends in the process.
A film like This is the End is something that in the hands of anyone else would have been a disaster. No one wants to see a film that glorifies actors playing themselves for a paycheck, yet Rogen and Goldberg find that balance of playing highly exaggerated (or maybe not) versions of themselves. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this was what Rogen really did on his weekend, yet the winks and nods towards roles that he and others have played feels like the work of a genius… or two.
I usually hate reviewing comedies, because it’s so damn hard to describe them without simply saying that the movie is funny or clever, yet This is the End leaves me with more than enough room to expand upon, because Rogen and Goldberg have managed to do so much with so little. The concept is simple: a group of friends must battle whatever lurks at the end of the world. Hilarity ensues.
Simple enough, right?
This is the End is loaded to the max with comedy. It certainly helps to have virtually every talented comedian working in the field at your disposal, but what really hits things home is the writing. The pair of funny guys have managed to stretch such thin material into something truly epic. This isn’t just another stoner comedy or gross-out raunchy comedy. This is the End deals a lot with friendship and what it exactly means to be a good person, while also winking with a smile at religion. I’m probably reaching a little with those statements, but Rogen and Goldberg don’t gloss these things over as quickly as you’d imagine.
They get their jokes in, but they put in the time and effort to build them up and let them grow until their proper release.
This is the End does suffer a little though. The beginning is slow and structured poorly, mostly due to everything having to be set up, but once the main characters get their focus things quickly become entertaining. Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride all prove their comedic worth with rapid-fire jokes that almost land too quickly for you to properly register.
Danny McBride absolutely steals the show as the biggest dickhead on the screen. McBride gets a lot of shit for playing the same asshole character, but he does it so well. You’ll almost always want to hit him or never trust him with a single thing, yet he’ll be the first one to get you clapping or rolling on the floor from constant laughter. McBride’s timing is perfect and his jokes are almost always mean-spirited and cold, which makes him the most interesting character of the film.
Everyone else brings their own usual style to the mix. They all blend together real well, yet not one single act manages to stick. It’s like Rogen’s whole character wouldn’t work without Baruchel’s to bounce off of and his wouldn’t work without Hill’s and so on. They work as a unified team, but when separated their individual weaknesses really do start to show.
Still, This is the End is movie that’s full of nonstop laughter. It’s rude, mean and downright dumb when it’s all said and done, but it’ll have you laughing hard the entire way through. Some of the special effects are intentionally dodgy and Rogen and Goldberg’s pacing needs a bit of work, but the film holds up mighty strong for a first shot behind the lens.
Funniest movie of the year? Maybe. I’d say Pain & Gain still takes the cake, but This is the End is very close behind. It’s a lot easier to digest and much more focused on keeping you laughing without a single dull moment. This is the End is one of the funniest movies of the year and a film that shows its balls proudly. I have no idea how Rogen and friends managed to convince the studios to fund this thing for a nationwide release. It feels like a gigantic inside joke that we’ve been let in on with just enough explanation to make it funny without too much extreme context.
This is the End – 8.5/10