Comedy Film Review

Insta-Review: This is the End

June 20, 2013Ben MK

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Warning: The following review contains minor spoilers!

It's the unfortunate reality for busy reviewers and writers that we sometimes miss seeing a film in theaters in time to write a day one review. That's what happened with This is the End for this reviewer, but having finally caught it, I'm hoping to redeem myself (see what I did there?) with this Insta-Review. Just add water. Seriously, this will just take five minutes.

Whatchu Want, Son?
You're probably already familiar with the plot and the fact that the main cast are playing themselves in the film, so here are the bullet points. Seth Rogen picks up his friend, Jay Baruchel, from LAX for a weekend visit. They end up at a house party at James Franco's house. Celebrity cameos ensue. The Apocalypse strikes. Hilarity ensues. Oh, and a bunch of people and actors die.

Of course, Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride are playing skewed versions of themselves, to create the sort of dysfunctional group dynamic any disaster-survival comedy needs.The crux of the group is Rogen and Baruchel, whose relationship arc drives the film. Hill plays himself as a closeted homosexual, and there is some sort of bromance triangle going on between Rogen, Baruchel and Franco (with some fun being poked at rumors of Franco's sexual preferences). Robinson (who also happens to be starring in another Apocalyptic comedy, Rapture-Palooza) is essentially reprising the same characters he's played in The Office and Hot Tub Time Machine, and Danny McBride is, well, Danny McBride in every film you've ever seen Danny McBride in. No one is going to win any Oscars for their performances. It's just the kind of movie where everyone is having fun and the audience is along for the ride.

The trailer (especially the Red Band trailer) does give away most of the laughs. That's not to say the film doesn't have plenty of them, but spaced out in the runtime of one and three quarter hours (versus a two minute trailer) the laughs don't pack the same punch. Some of the best laughs were (thankfully) omitted from the trailer, probably because they're a little risqué (even for a Red Band). An argument between Franco and McBride over the -- um -- "condition" of an adult magazine is the standout here. There's also a hilarious cameo from Channing Tatum late in the film.

The plot points aren't telegraphed miles in advance, which is good and bad: good in the sense that the audience doesn't really know what to expect next (and things do get cray cray), and bad because the movie seems to drift aimlessly at times.

All in all, it's a fun film. There are some fun shout outs to other films like Ghostbusters and Mad Max, but the ending relies a bit too heavily on nostalgia and can be construed as a bit lazy. However, given the events of the hour and a half leading up to it, it can be forgiven. If It had to guess, I'd bet it's the most anatomically correct End-of-the-World film you'll see all year. [★★★½]

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