Craig's First Take: "This is the End"
on 2013-06-07 10:04
Funny films have been crushing it this year, and by “it”, I mean laughter. Lazy and crude films (“A Haunted House”, “Movie 43”), wastes of comedic talent (“Identity Thief”, “Admission”),guys who used to be great but now can’t even be not-irritating let alone funny (“The Hangover Part 3”, “The Internship”), this year needs a break-out comedy hit and if I were a betting man, “This is the End” would be my pick, a high concept idea with a cast filled with likable regulars (not to mention the presumably many cameo appearances we can detect from the trailer) . Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote the script (so expect pot jokes) and hopefully this is more of a “Superbad-Pinepple Express” than a “Green Hornet” type deal. Also of note is that this is the first time both will be taking on directing duties.
All I can say is it’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine. Why? Cause these guys just completely knocked the year’s first fantastic comedy out of the park. This is a gross, crude, original, wild, clever, and non-stop hilarious movie that always seems to know when to let these guys riff, when to throw in a zany action sequence, and when to throw in a few shockingly funny horror bits as well. It’s amazing that no one has ever tried a rapture comedy before, which is not exactly true since Rogen, Goldberg, and Baruchel are basing this film off a short they made in 2007 called “Seth and Jay vs. The Apocalypse”, but you get the idea.
The set-up is fantastic, setting it in a real world scenario where the actors play themselves. Baruchel comes to LA to meet up with old friend Rogen. Both apparently know each other from their days in Canada. Right away we learn that Rogen is cutting out gluten from his diet (still smoking weed) and Baruchel, the least known actor of this group who is also a bit of a hipster, also happens to hate Rogen’s Hollywood friends.
Long story short, the guys end up hanging out with Rogen’s Hollywood friends at a party thrown by James Franco. The beauty of this movie is that everyone is playing a variation and poking fun at themselves. Rogen is the lovable stoner, Baruchel the uptight loner, Franco is a pretentious eccentric considering himself an artist (he also keeps all of his movie memorabilia), Craig Robinson is the cool, smooth black dude charming girls out of their panties, Jonah Hill brings sarcasm to everything (even empathy), and Danny McBride is a one-man wrecking ball of selfish, reckless, and crude behavior.
As the party gets under way, we get cameos from all sorts of well-knowns; Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segal, Mindy Kaling, Paul Rudd and the best one coming from Michael Cera, finally playing against type. We know that mayhem and carnage will ensue and many of these people, and several others, are dispatched in hilariously gruesome ways (hit with things, sucked into a sink hole, impaled) leaving our six heroes, who soon realize that they’ve been left behind after the rapture.
Much of the film takes place in one location (Franco’s house) and while that may seem like a detriment, all 6 actors know how to play-off each other so well that nobody becomes a stand-out because every one is contributing in their own way. Rogen and Goldberg poke fun at incompetent, sissified actors trying to survive, give these guys some funny conflicts with each other, give us some laugh-out loud funny scenes of severed heads, demons, and even an exorcism of one of these guys. The best is the eventual stir-craziness that results. They’re so bored that they create their own trailer to a sequel of one of their popular movies and get high off ecstasy, so frustrated that damage to a possession is enough to send two guys into threats of ejaculating on one another, and so desperate for rations that they would be willing to drink or eat anything.
There’s a lot more here, including a cameo later on that is probably the biggest laugh of the whole film. There’s also a solid story (and some decent jokes) about all six actors coming to terms with God and their own goodness. The ending may be one of the best of any film I’ve seen this year. This movie has a lot of talent and unlike so many other comedies this year, it has great ideas on how to use it.