It’s rare I get my hopes up this much for a movie, and it’s even more rare I have these high expectations met, but This is the End is a rare movie. With a unique premise, a fantastic cast and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg writing and directing, I knew this movie had huge potential, and while it’s not perfect, it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years.
As you’ve probably heard by now, This is the End is about the end of the world. But it’s not just any apocalypse movie; it takes a group of big Hollywood comedic stars, playing themselves, and follows them as they try to survive the Rapture. Jay Beruchel arrives in L.A. to spend the weekend with his longtime Canadian friend Seth Rogen, but reluctantly ends up at a party at James Franco’s house. When everything starts going to hell (literally) Beruchel, Rogen and Franco band together with Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and Danny McBride to stay alive.
It’s an original premise, and I was on board from the start. It honestly doesn’t matter what they’re doing, if you put those six in a room together there’s going to be laughs. But This is the End is the most consistently funny movie I’ve seen since Superbad. The jokes are just relentless. Of course, they’re totally vulgar, but if you’re going into this film expecting something else, you’ve made a huge mistake. I don’t want to give the jokes away, but we’ll just say there’s a hilarious conversation about ejaculation, a great Exorcism mock-up, amazing surprise cameos, and much, much more. The hilarious trailers were just a taste of what you can expect from this movie.
What gives this movie its comedic success is its cast. It’s greatest strength is that all these guys are actually friends. Because they’re playing themselves, they just get to harp on each others careers. It’s a two hour in-joke, but if you’re a fan of these guys, you’re in on it. It’s difficult to say the performances are really good, because it’s not much of a challenge to play yourself, but each cast member really plays their own caricature, the character they’re criticized of being “in every movie.” So in that sense, they do a great job, it’s just not that difficult. A special shout out goes to Michael Cera, who I wish was in the movie longer, because he’s absolutely hilarious.
Many have complained about This is the End’s story being thin, which is true, but not that big a problem for me. The story is really just a vehicle in which the comedy can take place, and I doubt Goldberg and Rogen thought of it as anything more than that. They weren’t trying to create a great story, so why judge it as such? My main problem with it is that these first time directors could have shown some more discipline making this one. They have two hours worth of comedy here, but not two hours worth of plot. At many points, the narrative doesn’t move forward at all, and many scenes, while funny, could have been left for Blu-ray’s deleted scenes. The result is a story that begins to drag at points in the middle, and shows Rogen and Goldberg probably didn’t want to cut anything they thought was too funny to lose. For me, the story didn’t have to be compelling, it just had to keep moving forward.
But when it’s all said and done, no one remembers the plot of these types of movies; they remember the laughs. This is the End delivers on everything it sets out to do, and will be remembered as one of the funniest films of this generation.