Friday, June 28, 2013

Film Review: This is the End

James Franco and Seth Rogen lead an all-star comedy cast composed of Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny Mcbride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, and many more in This Is The End, a movie that is part apocalyptic thriller but mostly party-fare comedy. While This Is The End certainly revels in the same style of humor as films such as Pineapple Express and Superbad, it is able to carve out its own niche with its brand of judgment day side busters. Most of the time This Is The End stays on a fast track of easy laughs but it on occasion opens up and looks inside to depths not commonly seen in this style of comedy.

            In the film the actors all play caricatures of their real life selves. So the movie centers around Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel, as Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel, going to a big-time party at James Franco’s Hollywood home. There are a string of hilarious cameos from well-known stars such as James Marshall and Emma Watson as well as more unexpected guests like Rihanna and Mindy Kaling. During the course of the party the unthinkable happens: the apocalypse hits. This leaves our central cast fortified in Franco’s home and all hell breaks out (literally) as our ragtag band of misfits face the end of days.

            The cast is in top shape and This Is The End undeniably marks a high point for many of those involved. James Franco is as likable as Danny Mcbride is not, Jonah Hill puts in a uniquely funny performance, and Seth Rogen’s signature dry sarcasm works even better than usual while in contrast to the other star’s styles of comedy. Michael Cera, although he is only in the film for a short time, is one of the funniest characters and breaks out of his usual awkward-geeky mold in dramatic fashion. Only Jay Baruchel left me a little dry and as his role is one of the mild-mannered, down to earth protagonist that we can relate to and see the story through, he gets a pass.

            The movie speeds past “raunchy” all the way to “adults only”. This Is The End is consistently crass and offensive and is only safe for those who know what to expect from this crew. The jokes are funny and there are some legitimate laugh-out-loud moments but much of This Is The End makes an episode of Family Guy look tame. 

            There is a surprising abundance of visual splendor in the film. From the ravaged wreckage of post-apocalyptic Hollywood to hell beasts of CG wonder, This Is The End features some spectacular imagery not usually seen in this kind of film. I was actually left wondering and imagining how the film would look in IMAX.

            There are many ways in which This Is The End breaks out of and subverts the genre norm and it is a better movie because of it. However the film is still very much of the bawdy slacker sub-genre and remains inaccessible for those not accustomed to the style and of more delicate sensibility. By normal standards This Is The End is good if not great but for the genre This Is The End is great if not exceptional.

Grade: B

Posted By: Terry Pierson, Library Clerk/Page