Comedies are usually hit or miss — there’s no middle ground in terms of laughs. Like horror, it can be hard to nail down what makes a movie funny or not. Also, some comedic pieces work for some people and not for others, which makes them especially hard to judge. So atop this review, I’m going to put it out there that this review, unlike most of the stuff I put on this site, is going to biased as all Hell based on what I think is funny. Are there some people who find penises hilarious? Sure. Am I one of them? Nope. Judging this film made by some of the top tier comedians of modern Hollywood could get ugly.
Let’s take a look at This Is the End.
The film starts off with Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel going to a party at James Franco’s new house. Early on, we see some emerging issues with Seth and Jay but they are put aside when a cataclysmic occurs. The three along with Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson are stuck rationing supplies, boarding up the house and trying to survive until they are rescued. As it turns out it is the end of the world itself — the Christian apocalypse.
Why? To what comedic end? A Backstreet Boys dance number. Seriously, that’s the big payoff. It feels like they wanted to slip in a moral about friendship and being bros but it’s totally lost amongst all the action and paranoia. Honestly, the film would have survived without trying to stuff a weird moral down our throats in the process. The check list of A and B list actors is a plus since having them interact is pretty funny but once we’re down to our main group, it becomes much less interesting since they don’t add anything to their persona than we wouldn’t already know. Rogen is a laid-back but sometime neurotic stoner, Franco is off kilter, Robinson is fun loving, Hill is kind but with a messed up side and Baruchel is…well he’s just sort of there to be what the plot needs him to be.
The acting is good because the actors are playing their normal personas. It isn’t who they necessarily are in real life but they have played characters so similar to these personas in other movies its easy to pick up. There really no stand out performance nor any sub-par ones, which helps the film a lot. I will say the funniest of the group in my opinion was Jonah Hill because of the thin veneer of kindness. His fate is a great twist and is really the only part of the last third of the film I enjoyed.
What surprised me the most were the effects used in the movie. While the majority of the action takes place in James Franco’s house, when we do finally see the carnage outside, it’s astounding by comparison. The demon/monster designs are great and behemoth at the end of the film was a stroke of genius. They were unique, scary and felt like those would actually be what Hell spawns looked like. The cinematography was well done, with great use of lighting to affect the mood of the scene, which is actually important hence why I go on and on about it. If it was important to Kubrick and Hitchcock, you can bet it is important to me.
Do I find the film all that funny? No. It’s too weird for me, maybe even too stoner for my taste. It does have some funny moments but most of them were in the trailers so I wasn’t surprised by any of them. The pop culture reference are nice but they just don’t pan out and while the cameos help diversify the movie, they just weren’t enough for me. That’s not to say that the film is not funny at all — it’s just not my kind of humor.
This is the End is confusing for me — there’s a bigger joke in here somewhere but I don’t think I got it. It has good parts but towards the end, it all blurs into a weird end of days story that has great effects but no powerful or interesting story to back it up. This seems like the movie where the plot really shouldn’t matter and yet it feels as though made an effort to make it important. If you like stoner comedy or any of its variants, you’ll enjoy this movie but otherwise I’d hold off.
– Some funny moments.
– Good special effects.
– Good acting.
– Weak story.
– Overall did not personally find funny.