Wed June 19, 2013
This is the End
This is the End
Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Screenplay: Goldberg (Superbad), Rogen (The Watch)
Cast: James Franco (127 Hours), Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
Runtime: 107 min.
by John DeSando
Jonah Hill: “This is no dream! This is really happening!”
Well, not really happening, but five well-known actors play amplified versions of themselves (e.g., Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and James Franco) with their well-known character traits at a housewarming party at Franco’s. Soon the Apocalypse is upon them as they struggle with some impressive monsters to survive.
The laughs are vulgar, sometimes sexual, sometimes scatological, and sometimes funny. Otherwise it seems like a movie made by guys who have made it and think we will enjoy them hanging out and being amusing during the end of the world. In other words, although they are not funny most of the time, because of their celebrity we should consider them funny all of the time.
The narcissism we have come to suspect of successful Hollywood actors is both a source of the film’s humor and its satire. The joke, of course, is on us because we have paid well to see them act like adolescents.
The horror film sequences are not bad graphically and dramatically, with less humor than in the quieter parts such as when Rogen and Baruchel ride from the airport reminding me of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Although I have to admit Jonah Hill as a green-eyed, liquid spewing Exorcist knock off is funny enough if you just consider his many schlubby roles. During his exorcism, this exchange is mildly humorous: Jay Baruchel: “The power of Christ compels you!” Jonah Hill: “Guess what? It's not that compelling.”
I’d say for a tepid comedic summer, This is the End ranks above Hangover III and below The Internship. You won’t split a gut over it, but you will not waste your money either. And if the end of the world occurs at the same time, you could have done worse.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com