Wednesday, 5 June 2013

This is the End Review

This is the End should be completely self-indulgent twaddle. The kind of movie that could be the end of careers and make you hate the stars who so self-consciously play themselves in an attempt to be hip, clever and funny. Full of quirky cameos of the friends of the stars and showing the lifestyles of the rich and famous, it should be insufferable.

However This is the End is actually a very fun horror comedy that pits Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, James Franco, Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill against the apocalypse. The stars might be playing themselves and managed to rope in a huge number of celebrity cameos, but This is the End laughs in the face of its slacker stoner stars and never takes itself seriously enough to irk viewers.

When Jay arrives back in LA to see old buddy Seth, they both end up at James Franco's Hollywood hills mansion for a celebrity crammed party that just happens to also be the end of the world. As it is in the book of Revelations in the Bible, it seems the rapture is upon us and those not immediately taken to heaven will be left on earth to battle it out with demons and each other. After a pit opens in front of the house swallowing most of those at the party, only the core characters are left holed up in Franco's house to bicker over food, water, a dwindling supply of drugs and are suddenly left trying to survive hell on Earth.

Fans of the Judd Apatow crew like Rogen and Hill will love this. It's got that same brand of slacker style humour that runs through many of their other films. There are movie references aplenty with The Exorcist making for one particularly hilarious scene and James Franco's camcorder (from 127 Hours) also providing much humour. If you know and like these guys and their movies, you will enjoy every second. The references drop thick and fast and are not afraid to comment on the less successful films of their back catalogue with Your Highness coming in for one particularly funny mention.

Even before the apocalypse comes knocking, it is a real pleasure to see a representation of how these characters live. Rogen and Baruchel get stoned a lot, Michael Cera takes coke and slaps Rihanna's ass and James Franco is as weird and wonderful as you would hope, clearly a little in love with his Pineapple Express co-star Rogen. If this all seems a bit self-indulgent, well it is. If you don't like these guys and their films, seriously stay away. There is nothing for you here. On the other hand, if you like your stars stoned and silly, please step forward.

There are a few mishaps. The final scene is a bit of a flop and the running time is slightly over stretched, At times it seems like a series of sketches giving it a slightly disjointed feel. There are also a couple of missed opportunities. From the guys who brought us the hilarity of two guys watching Cirque de Soleil on mushrooms (in Knocked Up) and the hysterical wonder drug of 21 Jump Street, the drug taking scene where the surviving stars ingest a bunch of drugs fails to grab any laughs and feels woefully under utilised.

However on the plus side the effects are fantastic, particularly towards the end of the film where the stars leave the safety of Franco's house. It's hard to decide whether the film is verging on promoting Christian values or whether it is really just ridiculing them. Just when you think you've seen all the celeb cameos, there is another cameo towards the end that is also hilarious and unexpected. Emma Watson shows up for one scene that is funny but borders on tasteless but this is a film full of smutty, dirty humour that the easily offended would do well to miss. It's also got a fantastic soundtrack that spans Cypress Hill to Black Sabbath.

At times This is the End feels like a bunch of mates larking about. But when the bunch of mates include some of the funniest guys around, there is a hell of a lot of pleasure to be had from hanging out with them. Even if it is the end of the world.

This is the End is out on 28th June 2013 in the UK. It was one of my top 5 films to see in June. Thanks to the Total Film screening club for the tickets. Here is the trailer:

More recent reviews at I Love That Film:

Ruby Sparks Review

The Look of Love Review 

21 & Over Review

Iron Man 3 Review

Olympus Has Fallen Review

Spring Breakers Review

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