This Is The End Review
If you have not seen "This is the End" yet, and you have a even the smallest iota of interest in the movie, just go. I think by now, you have a pretty good barometer to decide whether or not you like or dislike what these guys have been doing for the last ten or so years. Heck, you have a good idea of what they have been doing since "Freaks and Geeks back in 1999. Anytime a comedy says something that involves Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg or Judd Apatow as apart of the film's crew, I personally am there.
Anybody can read a synopsis of "This Is The End" and pass it off as an inside joke taken to the extreme. And on one level, it kind of is. The film features Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson and other actors all playing themselves, or at least alternate versions of themselves. I sure hope the Michael Cera we see in this film is an alternate version, otherwise I have no desire to ever meet him. Not only does every actor play themselves, but each actor's career is referenced throughout the entire running time. It easy to read this paragraph and already pass this experience off as self-indulgent.
On another level, "This Is The End" has quite a bit to say about friendship and labels society puts on us. I remember when I moved to college for my freshman year, I missed my high school friends very much. Now I've been away from dorm life for over a year now, and sometimes its easy to feel disconnected to all friends now that everyone is scattered across state lines. Last month, I spent a weekend with my college buddies and another weekend with my high school buddies, and I was surprised and humbled to learn how manically nostalgic those visits were. The floods of stories I told with my friends reminded me why we are all so close now and why we became friends in the first place. "This Is The End" is all about the importance of friendship. And how important those relationships are.
As the film begins Seth Rogen is picking up Jay Baruchel. Jay has come to Los Angeles from Canada to visit Seth, and just when he thinks its going to be a two man show, Seth insists they go to James Franco's house party. What the film does surprisingly well is exploit how hard it is for some people to act when two different circles of friends collide. Rogen doesn't mean to ditch Baruchel to chill with Franco and Jonah Hill, but is Baruchel making the effort to get to know them?
And this is all before people begin to teleport to the sky, huge earthquakes hit and people start dying. Soon enough, Franco, Robinson, Baruchel, Hill, Rogen and McBride all barricade themselves in Franco's home. Scared of what is roaming the outside world. The laughs never stop, and the last half hour is some of the craziest film-making I have seen in awhile. How this whole enterprise got green-lit is beyond astonishing. Each actor is at the top of their form, no matter if they have a major speaking role or a cameo role. Rhianna and Emma Watson in particular are used to supreme effect.
The film is also remarkable in how it deals with societal labels, like I mentioned above. Imagine if society labeled you a loser. How would you cope with that? How could you cope with that? I think "This Is The End" is the first comedy in a long time to tackle some intriguing issues, but feature some of the funniest and strangest humor at the same time. I think what Rogen and Evan Goldberg have crafted here is wonderful, high-concept comedy. If you enter the theater with an open-heart and open mind, you'll be astonished how well this works for you.
Oh, and "Pineapple Express 2" definitely needs to happen. Definitely.
FINAL GRADE: A-