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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.63%
Worth A Look53.66%
Average: 24.39%
Pretty Bad: 4.88%
Total Crap: 2.44%

5 reviews, 11 user ratings

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This is the End
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Eric Lefenfeld

"Making Dick Jokes While Hollywood Burns"
4 stars

It's pretty remarkable that "This Is the End," A, exists as a feature to begin with, and B, as no less than a tentpole summer comedy. Compare to Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson sleepwalking through the faded copy of a copy of a copy that is "The Internship," and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's free-wheeling apocalyptic goof becomes downright revelatory.

The pair have cashed in all their chips (those that were still left after "Green Hornet," at least) on what can't be denied is a bit of a vanity project, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that when the results are as relentlessly amusing (and dare I say, somewhat touching) as "This Is The End" proves to be.

Seth Rogen has often been accused of just playing variations on himself throughout all of his movies, and I wou;dn't necessarily disagree with this. But if Clooney can always be Clooney, why can't Rogen be granted the same privilege? His persona is one that's massively relatable, and he's used that to build a successful career that has allowed him to be completely in control without having to compromise the casual attitude that brought him initial acclaim. Good for him. Perhaps the choice to go meta this time out is his way of blowing smoke in the face of his detractors. Yes, all the actors in the film are playing themselves (to varying degrees of exaggeration), and no, it's not as cutesy or annoying as one might initially assume. With a less tightly-knit cast, this choice might come off as more grating than anything else, but the real-life friendship shared by the cast is wildly infectious and goes a long way in smoothing over any improvisational shagginess

Expanded from the 2007 short "Jay and Seth Vs The Apocalypse," the feature is still rooted in the relationship between Rogen and Jay Baruchel, who at the beginning of the film has arrived in LA hoping to spend a pot-fueled weekend with his old friend. Rogen, though, has thrown himself into the Hollywood lifestyle, and he drags a reluctant Baruchel to a party at James Franco's massive digs, where the self-effacing cast is expanded to include Franco (of course), Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and Danny McBride. The star-studded party's in full swing when the apocalypse decides to arrive, but not before a parade of celebrity partygoers -- gleefully willing to make fun of themselves -- throw in some cameos before running for cover and/or dying in various gruesome fashions. To reveal much more, about either the cameos or the nature of said apocalypse, is to ruin the fun, but Michael Cera is a standout, playing an even more debased and coked out version of himself than he did in last year's "The End Of Love."

If you long ago tired of Rogen and company's forte (dick jokes, pot jokes, trash-talking, extended riffing on any combination of said subjects), "This Is The End" will do little to change any negative opinions. What naysayers fail to recognize is that yes, the banter is crass and usually phallic-based, but it's steeped in the rhythms of how good friends actually speak to one another. That's a difficult tone to capture without feeling forced, and this group of actors should be given credit for being able to mine so many consistent laughs from just doing what buddies do. Anybody can pull a cheap sub-Farrelly Brothers gross out comedy from their ass; this is genuine comedic talent on display, juvenile as it may be. It's always been the geniality of this crew that takes this admittedly (and purposefully) banal shtick so far, and the film gives them nothing but room to riff off one another. For a movie about the end of the world, the story is relatively small in scope. The action stays confined to Franco's increasingly collapsing home for most of the running time, as the group moves through comically tinted genre staples: dealing with withering rations, the high stakes food run, cabin fever, and, in one of the film's sharpest bits, the always looming spectre of rape.

The push and pull between Rogen and Baruchel injects the film with a crucial dose of sentiment. Baruchel is one the last links Rogen has to his pre-movie star days, and there's an unspoken tension that's grown between them, born out of nostalgia for the good ol' days and maybe even a little professional jealousy, that they're forced to confront as the world crumbles around them. Most of us haven't become movie stars, but the notion of unintentionally outgrowing old friends is one that anyone can relate to. It's not clear exactly how autobiographical any of these details are, but Rogen and Baruchel have known each other since they were both up and coming on "Undeclared," way back in 2001. There's also no denying that Rogen's star has only risen since then in comparison to Baruchel, who is still based in Montreal like his fictionalized counterpart. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if there's any truth behind the story or not. The pair sell the more serious side of the friendship just as well as the comedic one, and it prevents the film from sliding too far in the direction of just being a straight spoof. These men are busy making jokes, but the world is ending around them, and the barrage of penises and insults slows down just enough for this fact to carry some weight.

That subplot is the most direct appeal to the heart, but the entire film is just dripping with the utter joy and disbelief that the entire cast must've felt to have been given this opportunity. Who hasn't dreamed of being able to goof off with their friends on Hollywood's dime? These guys are living it, they know they're never going to be able to do something quite like this again, and they go all in. Franco's house is filled with paintings, but two of the more prominently displayed portraits are of the characters from Freaks and Geeks, the now-classic television show from which both Franco and Rogen's careers sprung, as if to make a formal acknowledgement of just how far they've come in being able to make this very strange and personal film.

It might be a little loose and shaggy, but the commitment and impeccable chemistry of all involved is on display in every single frame -- and that's the crucial difference that sets it above so many other by-the-numbers comedies.

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originally posted: 06/12/13 07:54:51
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User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell very funny forget the haters 4 stars
7/07/14 KingNeutron Better than expected - and the end makes you think 4 stars
12/30/13 Cleve Absolute POS - worse than TV comedies 1 stars
11/01/13 mr.mike It ran 100 minutes. It seemed like 100 days. 2 stars
10/16/13 Carl Well done fun film very funny. 4 stars
9/15/13 Langano Doesn't live up to the hype. 3 stars
7/11/13 Charles Kill It was pretty flawless for what it was the first time I watched...didn't last. 4 stars
6/19/13 Elizabeth Entertaining in a wacky, stupid way. One great cameo. 3 stars
6/17/13 Cornholio Could've been worse seeing how Rogen is a chode 3 stars
6/13/13 Marty Humble funny characters but the humor doesn't set itself apart from other comedies. Fun tho 3 stars
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  12-Jun-2013 (R)
  DVD: 01-Oct-2013

  28-Jun-2013 (15)

  04-Jul-2013 (MA)
  DVD: 01-Oct-2013

Directed by
  Evan Goldberg
  Seth Rogen

Written by
  Evan Goldberg
  Seth Rogen

  Jonah Hill
  James Franco
  Seth Rogen
  Jay Baruchel
  Danny McBride
  Craig Robinson

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