The raunch-fest This Is The End is fiercely unapologetic and sinfully hilarious to watch.
We here at SJF are privy to so many comedy screenings every year, and we are grateful for it. Unfortunately, 2013 has given us more than our fair share of duds, making me wonder if good comedy is still out there. Luckily, This Is The End renews my faith, even if I can't recommend that everyone see it.
Shot mostly in the home of James Franco (Pineapple Express), the film features a who's-who of modern comedic actors, including Seth Rogan (Knocked Up), Jonah Hill (Superbad), and fellow Express dudes Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride. Each plays some sort of weird version of themselves as they react to the Apocalypse which is about to end of the world. The troupe drink, smoke, and bitch their way through some of the funniest scenes of the year, including Baruchel walking in on the coked-up Michael Cera (Superbad) as he's being 'serviced' by a pair of hotties. But soon, it's the end of the world, and as Baruchel and Rogan watch the chosen being sucked up to heaven during The Rapture, they realize that God won't let them into the pearly gates, nor anyone attending Franco's housewarming party. Eventually it's just the guys left, as everyone else has either fallen into a deep sinkhole to Hell in front of Franco's house or been delivered to Heaven. The stoner bros argue masturbation, come face to face with a well-endowed Devil, and stumble upon a special guest of McBride's near the end of the film. As the end arrives, our comedians have to figure out how to get the blue light to shine on them before it's too late.
This is not a comedy about lovable losers inexplicably landing hot women, but a roll-on-the-floor, completely over-the-top experience that proves what good comedic actors can do when they're free to roam far away from mainstream Hollywood's formulas. Credit Rogan and long-time collaborator Evan Goldberg, who jointly wrote and directed This is the End, without seeking any sort of approval for what they were doing. But let's also be fair: there's nothing intelligent or thought provoking here like 1999's Dogma, which challenged every pre-conceived notion about our belief systems and pissed off just about everyone in the process. This is the End won't answer the big question about humanity and its reliance on unseen spiritual aids for comfort, but it will entertain and offend at the same time. And while I do recommend the film, I can't suggest that certain religious folk out there stand in line to see it.
There are supposedly raunchy movies, and then there's the haloed few that occupy the pinnacle of moviemaking. The wild, completely unpredictable This is the End shows us that good ideas still exist to make people laugh, even if mainstream Hollywood doesn't read the same book. In a year when the comedy seems predictable - even unfunny - Rogan and company make a fun group to watch, even if those jokes are centered squarely on their half-baked personalities and the presence of male genitalia. This self-mockery is the best part of This is the End, but its extreme themes will make some groups wince and even leave the theater. That's better for us who don't care, as we'll laugh harder in their absence. This is the End is rated R for...well...everything imaginable and has a runtime of 107 minutes
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