This Is the End
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // June 12, 2013
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted June 11, 2013
Highly Recommended
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If the apocalypse were to take place, different people around the world would surely have varied reactions. Some would commit horrible crimes such as murder, while others would seek shelter with their closest friends and family members. The realization of the end of the world would be a shock to many, which could drive some to insanity. This Is the End explores how a group of celebrities deal with the apocalypse. However, they aren't all the closest of friends, as a few of them are complete enemies. This works as an excellent vehicle for a hysterical comedy, especially since the celebrities are playing themselves. The narrative itself might not entirely hold up, but it works in delivering laugh-out-loud gags that make it worth every penny of your admission ticket.

Jay Baruchel isn't crazy about the Los Angeles lifestyle, but he decides to visit in order to see his best friend, Seth Rogen. Jay is talked into attending a crazy party at James Franco's house, which is crowded with fellow celebrities. The party is filled with alcohol and drugs, but Jay doesn't like many of the people. He's forced to spend time with Seth's new friend, Jonah Hill, who he doesn't get along with. They are ultimately faced with the apocalypse, leaving Franco's house as the safest place to be. Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride lock themselves in the large house. It doesn't take long for chaos to ensue.

Since Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote and directed the film together, it was clear from the beginning what to expect from this motion picture. They're known for producing one raunchy comedy after another, which is almost always a hit with moviegoers. However, the twist here is that the entire cast is playing themselves. They have taken the actors' real personalities and attributes, but also added incredibly exaggerated characteristics in order to take the film to another level. Rogen and Goldberg have a lot of material that draws from each actor's career. This Is the End focuses a lot of its humor on making fun of the actors themselves, as well as the duds each one has produced. As long as you've seen, or least heard about, their previous motion pictures, then you won't have any issues understanding the jokes. Rogen and Goldberg truly understand what will get an audience laughing. The sheer "laughs-per-minute" ratio is astounding, as they constantly deliver some of the funniest and most memorable sequences you'll see all year.

After the apocalypse occurs, the majority of the film takes place within Franco's house. Goldberg and Rogen make it feel as if we're trapped in the house with these celebrities as things continue to spiral out of control. This Is the End has a clear central theme of friendship. While the group doesn't entirely get along throughout the picture, it ultimately conveys what it means to truly be a good friend. Even Jay and Seth's friendship is on rocky path, but it's only cheesy when it wants to be. The filmmakers have a clear understanding of how to execute genre conventions while still delivering a lot of jokes. There are substantial segments of this film that have numerous references to horror flicks. These portions work incredibly well, although there are a few instances in which the feature feels the need to over-explain its roots. However, this is a relatively small issue that doesn't detract much from the moviegoing experience.

This comedy will surely leave massive amounts of audiences laughing out loud. There are a decent amount of cameos that add to the overall feature. Most of them make their appearances towards the beginning of the running time as the apocalypse begins, although there are a few others who surface throughout the picture's duration. This Is the End will have viewers laughing more times than not, although the climax gets slightly desperate. There are a few jokes that can be seen as being safe and the tonal transition that occurs during the final act is a bit messy. The ending tries its hardest to leave audiences leaving with a specific emotion. Even though it comes across as being slightly forced, at least it succeeds in its goal.

Filmmakers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen clearly went on a mission in order to deliver a round of well-known celebrities. Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride are excellent lead characters. The sheer amount of comedic energy that has been pumped into this motion picture is stunning. The chemistry between the actors on screen is what makes this movie so great. It's obvious that they had an exciting time filming this, which simply makes it that much more enjoyable to watch. They make this movie so over-the-top that we can't help but run with it.

This Is the End is the directorial debut for both Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. Goldberg is primarily known for writing raunchy features such as Pineapple Express, while Rogen is famous for starring in them. They have both delivered worthwhile skills in varied roles of the filmmaking process. They have a strong understanding of other genres that are incorporated, such as action and horror, but always stay true to their comedic roots. The film looks great, even when it uses CGI. Both directors have done an incredible job with creating the relationships that exist between the few survivors within Franco's house.

Putting the narrative aside, This Is the End has the primary goal of making audiences laugh. Fortunately, this motion picture is absolutely hilarious. It had me laughing out loud like no other comedy has thus far this year. The moviegoing experience is simply amplified when viewing it with a large and enthusiastic crowd. Even if you aren't a big fan of these individual actors, this is most certainly worth seeing if you enjoy vulgar humor. This Is the End is a wildly hysterical comedy backed with plenty of the "oomph" required to be memorable. Highly recommended!

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