This is the End is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial début, and it was met with wide critical and commercial acclaim. Firmly in the comedic style of its unofficial predecessor Pineapple Express, and very much continuing the ‘Bro’ genre, This is the End focuses on Seth Rogen and his Hollywood clique (all playing themselves) whilst trying to maintain a friendship with Jay Baruchel, who doesn’t really fit in with his Hollywood friends. They end up at James Franco’s mansion at an A-list party (including Rihanna, Jason Segel, Emma Watson and a hugely perverse Michael Cera). Uncomfortable with the crowd, Jay goes to buy cigarettes from a local convenience store where the ground opens up, and blue beams of light carry people up into the sky. The ground starts to swallow up cars, streets, and many of Franco’s guests. Eventually Franco, Rogen, Baruchel, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson survive, pooling together all the remaining food, drink and supplies (& drugs) and take on the end of the world.
This is the End is first and foremost, very self-indulgent. It’s a private joke that we are made to kind of feel privileged to be invited to. It’s very much a product of its generation, Instagram, Twitter, meme-hashtag culture, hispterism. But this works so well for it. It’s self-examination of the culture of which it’s a product of, is neither a celebration or condemnation, it’s self depreciative enough to not be obscene but fully acknowledges it’s existence due to its real life roots. Granted, it’s flimsy in terms of plot, and most of the pivotal moments in the film do rely on jokes and not any real story writing ability. But in all fairness, the main cast have clearly so much additional existing chemistry with one another, the each scene flows effortlessly building a pseudo-coherent film with a purpose (sometimes deviating and placing too much focus on skits) but ultimately is hugely enjoyable.
It wont be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s borderline in places (rape jokes, masturbation/ejaculation dialogues which perhaps go on for a bit too long). Fans of the ‘bro’ genre will appreciate the references, the juvenile pop culture hashtagged humour. And it probably goes without saying, that Seth Rogen et al, are pretty much kings of this hipster comedy niche in Hollywood. They are also perhaps one of the better sects of the comedy film market, which seems to now be firmly split into two, Bridesmaids and Bros. There isn’t anything particularly revolutionary about This is the End, it plays up to audience expectations, and this means it does leave you feeling that actually it’s quite lazy, and the story reflects this. The random tangents of the plot, the lack of background or meaningful character development, but this formula has worked well so far, why change that?
There is something incredibly appealing about the film, the cast, it’s clearly haphazard scripting approach. It’s hook is based on the OMG moments (OMG Channing Tatum in gimp gear, OMG The Backstreet Boys). It’s random, non-sensical, but it’s target market probably isn’t too concerned with why Danny McBride takes less than 2 days to turn into some sort of violent, hyper-homosexual Lost Boys figurehead of a cannibalistic sect and has somehow managed to make Channing Tatum his bitch during the apocalypse, but he has. And it’s funny. It’s totally inappropriate, (don’t watch with your parents) but had me laughing, and unashamedly cheering the Backstreet Boys (I don’t even care if that makes me uncool, I’m from that generation!) It’s great to watch with friends, as Friday night throwaway entertainment, and it’s certainly up there as one of the better films of the throwaway category.
Popcorn Culture review – http://entertainmeshelby.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/this-is-the-end/
Baileypop review – http://bkhemphill.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/this-is-the-end/