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This Is the End - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
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cinema_holic
This Is the End
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Directing: B+
Acting: B
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: B+



Sometimes, context is everything. Most people won't know going in that This Is the End was made for $32 million -- but if they did, they'd be pretty damned impressed. I was: they didn't waste a penny of it. I mean, unless you want to consider money spent making giant demons anatomically correct a waste of money, but for once it's arguably money well spent. That was the cap of the budget the studio was willing to give co-directors Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen and not interfere with them cramming in as many dick jokes as possible. They really went to town.

They really went to town on Los Angeles, which is fine. Some of us don't mind seeing L.A. in flames. But the effects shots are used sparingly, and to great effect. Much of the movie takes place inside James Franco's house, with just him and his friends holed up inside of it as the apocalypse goes on outside.

If I were ambivalent about any part of this movie, it's that this apocalypse is decidedly Christian in nature. This is somewhat of a surprise, since Rogen (the only one of the two directors in front of the camera) is about as Jewish as a person can get -- well, and still get away with all those dick jokes, anyway. On the other hand, in a somewhat subversive way, they poke fun at the ridiculousness of the whole Christian notion of the End of Times.

Either way, it's pretty damned funny. This Is the End doesn't quite qualify as a Great Comedy -- it doesn't have the depth of, say, Tropic Thunder (which also co-starred Jay Baruchel), but it does have nearly the same frequency of laughs. The laughs don't hit quite as deep, necessarily, but that's a relatively pointless quibble. You go to a movie like This Is the End to laugh. The movie more than delivers; rarely does more than a minute or two go by without some pretty great humor.

Everyone in this movie plays themselves, and it all starts with Seth Rogan's friend Jay Baruchel arriving at LAX for a weekend visit. He's an outsider in Hollywood, visiting from Canada, and wants just to hang out with Rogen. Some of the dialogue at the very beginning is slightly stilted, but it's still funny -- right off the bat, a paparazzi shows up and pokes fun at Rogen's laugh.

Baruchel gets sucked into reluctantly accompanying Rogen to a party at an eccentric James Fraco's overblown house, where we are treated to some of the best gags in the film: cameo after cameo of actors playing themselves: Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, even Rihanna (plus several more). In more significant bit parts are both Emma Watson, who turns out to be pretty badass, and Michael Cera, playing a hilariously coked-out version of himself. There comes another cameo near the end with a pretty huge star that is so perfect I wouldn't dream of even hinting at ruining it, but the bulk of the cameo joy is at Franco's party.

Soon enough, an earthquake -- or what they think is an earthquake -- happens, and Franco in particular is irritated when everyone runs out of the house, which he insists is the safest place for them to be. Perhaps that's for the best, since ultimately there are only six of them left to ration the limited supplies left in the house: Franco; Rogen; Baruchel; a suspiciously angelic Jonah Hill; Craig Robinson (what's with the towel that's always over his shoulder?); and a predictably depraved Danny McBride. All of them play exaggerated versions of themselves, playing into the behavior audiences assume of them based on their movies.

The interactions between these people, and how events test their friendships, is both the backbone of the story and the reason they were able to keep the budget down. Most of the humor comes from the dialogue, which certainly doesn't need any effects shots. In one pretty hilarious scene, Franco and McBride get in an extended argument about how messy McBride is while jerking off. (Did I mention this is a, uh, hard-R rated comedy?)

It's all in good fun, though. And props should be given to the marketers for their savvy editing for the trailers, which really show only clips from the first half or so of the movie. Unlike many films, most of the humor here is a never-seen-before surprise. And that's what it comes down to: This Is the End is good for a laugh. A lot of laughs, actually.

James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rigen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride fight for their lives in THIS IS THE END.


Overall: B+
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2 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 25th, 2013 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Jewish actors

For future reference:
Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Julian Morris, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Andrew Garfield, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Marla Sokoloff, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Adam Brody, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gabriel Macht.

Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Connelly, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan.

Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Ezra Miller, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Ben Foster, Nikki Reed, Ansel Elgort.

Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
tommy50702 From: tommy50702 Date: April 28th, 2015 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Still funnier than any Adam Sandler movie.
2 comments or Leave a comment