THIS IS THE END Review

by     Posted 1 year, 48 days ago

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Judd Apatow‘s past collaborators have exceeded him.  Left to make a movie without his direct oversight, stars Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson have made a film with the influence of Apatow’s past work, but none of his recent weaknesses.  That’s not to say that these actors are only indebted to Apatow or that their comic talent came from working with the successful writer/director/producer.  But they’ve all worked with him in the past, and their latest effort, guided by a script and direction from Rogen and Evan Goldberg, leaves behind comic one-upmanship and endless riffing to provide a balanced comic dynamic that’s able to navigate a loose plot to big laughs.

The cast plays comic versions of themselves, and their story begins with Jay* flying in from Canada to visit Seth in Los Angeles.  Jay is reluctant to hang with Seth’s L.A. friends, but gets dragged to a party at James’ new house.  At a party filled with familiar comedy faces like Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Jason Segel, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Mindy Kaling, and more, the apocalypse strikes with a giant sinkhole forming on James’ front lawn and the Hollywood Hills ablaze.  After most of the guests fall into the fiery chasm, only James, Jay, Seth, Jonah, Craig, and Danny are left in the house.  They discover that the rest of the world is experiencing the same phenomenon, and from there, it’s a matter of survival not only in trying to find food and water, but also in keeping themselves amused and tolerating each other.

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Admittedly, it’s tough to review comedies because no one wants to give away the specific jokes.  In broad terms, This Is the End quickly establishes its tone as a goofy comedy rather than going towards a particular sub-genre like a stoner flick, self-parody, constant improv, or something dark and twisted.  These elements pop up throughout, but they don’t dominate the picture.   Rogen and Goldberg manage to find the right balance where it’s more about making sure the actors have the space to play off each other rather than be constricted by a particular set of comic guidelines.  The apocalypse is the pretext and gives the plot an arc, but This Is the End functions more like a series of vignettes based on the characters’ ineptness.

The movie is built more on relationships rather than types.  There is definitely some clear characterization when it comes to the rude-and-crude Danny and the emotionally mushy Jonah, and these types work out great.  But the film is more centered on how James dislikes Danny, how Jonah is trying to win over Jay, how James idolizes Seth, Craig and Jay trying to be better people, and most importantly, the friendship between Jay and Seth (which isn’t too surprising since the feature is based on the short film, “Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse”).

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It’s a savvy move since This Is the End could have easily fallen into the trap of celebrities lampooning their public personas.  It’s fine in short doses like watching Cera steal the show as he rails against his past typecasting, but this approach couldn’t sustain a 105-minute runtime.  Instead, the stars do what they’d probably like to do on a regular basis: just be seen as regular people.  This Is the End doesn’t ignore their fame, and occasionally pokes fun at it, but it’s not the central point of the movie.  The film even begins with Seth getting approached in the airport and asked to do his distinctive laugh as if he were a performing monkey.

By skillfully walking the line between their public personas and the ones constructed for this movie, the cast can focus on what it does best, which is making people laugh in any way possible.  Again, I won’t spoil any jokes, and you should go in as cold as possible, but the movie holds up on repeat viewings with plenty of moments that will have you doubled-over in laughter.  It’s not always full-tilt, but at the very least, it will keep you smiling from ear to ear.  There are so many places where This Is the End could have fallen into the abyss, but it happily weathers the apocalypse by never constraining the kind of comedy it will employ, but showing enough restraint to make sure that we’re never hoping an endless scene will be wiped from the face of the Earth.

Rating: B+

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*To provide a distinction, when I refer to a character, I’m using the first name, and when I’m referring to an actor and his performance, I’m using the last name.




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  • http://twitter.com/BeTrollin Troller

    But did you really SEE Seth Rogan as Seth Rogan? Did he really appear on the screen?

  • http://twitter.com/BeTrollin Troller

    But did you really SEE Seth Rogan as Seth Rogan? Did he really appear on the screen?

    • Mitchell Taco Nash

      Seth Rogen says on Krypton, the ‘S’ in his name means “hope”. But in ‘This is the End’, it’s a symbol without a Setherman.

  • Papi

    This is a glowing review, but yet the score is a B+. What does it take to get an A or A- with this guy?

    • brNdon

      He has to have been allowed access to the movie set for a movie to get an A.

      • Adam Chitwood

        Matt went to the set of John Carter and Warm Bodies. Neither film received an “A” score.

        http://collider.com/john-carter-review
        http://collider.com/warm-bodies-review

      • Liderc

        Rofl Matt gave John Carter a B+. Discussion over.

      • calebrcrawford

        John Carter was B+ move material. Perhaps you observed a poor marketing campaign which gave you a false sense of what to expect, but I came away pleasantly surprised with how well executed the movie was.

      • MCP

        I agree as well. Was a fun movie, will pick it up on Blu sometime as well.

      • MCP

        I agree as well. Was a fun movie, will pick it up on Blu sometime as well.

      • $19588731

        John Carter of Utah was B movie material. As in B movies, which usually wind up getting a D if they’re lucky.

      • calebrcrawford

        John Carter was B+ move material. Perhaps you observed a poor marketing campaign which gave you a false sense of what to expect, but I came away pleasantly surprised with how well executed the movie was.

      • Liderc

        Rofl Matt gave John Carter a B+. Discussion over.

      • Adam Chitwood

        Matt went to the set of John Carter and Warm Bodies. Neither film received an “A” score.

        http://collider.com/john-carter-review
        http://collider.com/warm-bodies-review

    • brNdon

      He has to have been allowed access to the movie set for a movie to get an A.

    • Far Woodman

      The directors and writers name should be same as Goldbergs!

      • Papi

        The funny thing is in this case it was… the writer/director is Evan GOLDBERG. I respect people that have differing opinions, but writing a gushing review, and then tossing in a B+ at the end is BS. It just seems like this is a thing done for attention and to drive up traffic. Literally every review this guy writes is positive in parts, and then the grade is as if its awful. Behind the Candelabra…. same thing. Very positive (minus some issues with the facts of the story) and then a C-. Its ridiculous.

      • Papi

        The funny thing is in this case it was… the writer/director is Evan GOLDBERG. I respect people that have differing opinions, but writing a gushing review, and then tossing in a B+ at the end is BS. It just seems like this is a thing done for attention and to drive up traffic. Literally every review this guy writes is positive in parts, and then the grade is as if its awful. Behind the Candelabra…. same thing. Very positive (minus some issues with the facts of the story) and then a C-. Its ridiculous.

    • Far Woodman

      The directors and writers name should be same as Goldbergs!

  • J.R.

    so this one is actually better than Man of Steel?

  • J.R.

    so this one is actually better than Man of Steel?

  • indy42

    Just out of curiosity… What has Goldberg given an A or A- to?

    Either he’s impossible to please or it’s a badly written review, since he doesn’t include any actual criticisms beyond a minor handwave at the end.

    • ScaredForMovies

      A Place Beyond The Pines got either an A or an A-.

      • indy42

        Huh. So he’s that kind of reviewer, eh? This movie gets a B+ not because there’s anything particularly wrong with it, but just because it’s a comedy.

      • ScaredForMovies

        Goldberg seems to be more into indie/artsy flicks. He’s very enigmatic though. Someone mentioned on the Man of Steel review that he loved Punisher War Zone.

  • indy42

    Just out of curiosity… What has Goldberg given an A or A- to?

    Either he’s impossible to please or it’s a badly written review, since he doesn’t include any actual criticisms beyond a minor handwave at the end.

  • Joe Blow

    The Jew reviewer gives the Jew directed movie starring jew actors a higher grade than man of steel, in a movie where the jew actors don’t even act. they play themselves. wonderful review, jew.

    • Nolan B. Horan

      I likes to troll this place when Nolan is involved but you’re just being an asshole. What a dick.

    • Nolan B. Horan

      I likes to troll this place when Nolan is involved but you’re just being an asshole. What a dick.

      • indy42

        Nolan B. Horan, we are mortal enemies.

        But on this one we must put aside our differences and flame the living shit out of Mr. Blow here.

    • Goop

      Wow. Go blow yourself, joe.

    • MicoY

      And the jew reader thinks that the non-jew Joe Blow has some problems and needs a jew shrink…

      • Nolan B. Horan

        Hey, I was wondering, when you go to the clan rallies do they make you bring your own sheet is there like a one size fits all kind of deal?

        And, did you become a neo-nazi because your mom got banged by so many black guys or was it your dad getting with a lot of Jewish guys?

      • Nolan B. Horan

        Also, does anybody know a Chris Nolan impersonator that i can hire to come to my house, gather my family in the living room, drop his pants and start pissing in my open mouth while yelling “ACTION”? I’d really like that, in fact, i’m pretty sure that it’ll be the best birthday ever! I’m willing to pay $300 cash. $350 if he can make it taste like asparagus.

    • Nolan B. Horan

      David S. Goyer is a jew dipshit. How do you square that away? Did you know that Superman is actually a jewish character? True story. He was invented by a Jew. “Superman” is actually meant to be pronounced as a Jewish surname. Google that shit hillbilly fucktard. And once you’re educated don’t go blowing your own brains out because you got a the Superman S tattooed right next to your swastika Eistein.

      • Nolan B. Horan

        Also, does anybody here know a Chris Nolan impersonator that i can hire to come to my house, gather my family in the living room, drop his pants and start pissing in my open mouth while yelling “ACTION”? I’d really like that, in fact, i’m pretty sure that it’ll be the best birthday ever! I’m willing to pay $300 cash. $350 if he can make it taste like asparagus.

      • Poor Griz B. Racist

        So Griz, You’d rather use the same lame copy and paste insult against me than the antisemite? Way to show your true colours ass clown racist.

      • Joey Blowey

        Jew. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

      • P.Bergeron

        All the problems in the world stems from Jews & the Rothchilds. The world wars were cause of Jews. And Obama is just a representitive of the Jew congress. True story.

      • P. Bergeron

        Hill billy’s usually fuck their own sisters cause they can’t get a nonimbred woman cause they have no teeth. True Story. They blame their poor ass lives on other people instead of taking personal responsibility. Like me and my fat mama (i fucked her too). Just thought I add that.

      • Joey Blowey

        You too P. Beregon? Hey do you think it’s weird I got my name Joe Blowey cause I blow black guys for quarters? Especially cause I’m a nazi fuck. I hate myself for it but when that black wang is choking me, it just reminds me of all the times my dad touched me.

  • Joe Blow

    The Jew reviewer gives the Jew directed movie starring jew actors a higher grade than man of steel, in a movie where the jew actors don’t even act. they play themselves. wonderful review, jew.

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