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By Tony LaScala · June 17, 2013
This is the End offers a fresh perspective to the “End of the World” movie, with non-stop laughs, shocking cameos, and surprising twists. This is not your run of the mill studio comedy full of cheap laughs and generically predictable jokes. Nope, it’s movie that if executed poorly would shock and alienate half its audience, but thankfully is executed so well that the theater erupted with laughter early and never quieted down.
To speak about the plot would be to give too much away. This is one of those movies that you should keep your mouth shut about, and just let everyone enjoy. I can’t wait to watch the film again on DVD with someone who hasn’t seen it yet, and watch his/her reactions. Essentially the story is: How would six actor friends trapped in a house (playing themselves are James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson) react to the end of the world? Cue apocalypse, hilarity ensues.
My assignment was to watch the movie analytically. I started to perform my duties, but before I knew it I was giggling, then laughing, then choking on chuckles. Then it was over and I realized I hadn’t made many mental notes about structure, character arc, and all that other mumbo jumbo I usually break down before writing a review. Often I’m not a fan of “potty humor,” but when it’s executed this well it’s not difficult to set aside my sometimes-prudish ways and bust a gut.
The plot did sometimes get in the way of the humor. The most engrossing moments occurred not during some big action sequence, but when a few of the cast would get in an argument over the most arbitrary of things. A minutes-long argument between Danny McBride and James Franco over, shall I say, male personal time nearly sent me to the hospital with a split in my sides.
The list of cameos is impressive. Again, I don’t want to delve too deep into the list, but Michael Cera’s (Superbad, Arrested Development, Juno) performance is nearly worth the price of admission on its own. Michael Cera plays Michael Cera, except he doesn’t act very “Michael Cera-like.” A cocaine snorting, ass slapping douche bag with no self-control and an unabashedly sterling opinion of himself replaces his usual stuttering bashfulness.
Hollywood will be taking note of the success of this comedy, and find a way to crap out fifty-five formulaic clones just like it until we’re all sick “that type of movie.” In a perfect world This is the End will spawn no sequels or copycats, and Hollywood will continue to search out unique and innovative comedies to keep us laughing and quoting. Remember that feeling you had after seeing The Hangover the first time? Now, think about how you felt after spending money on The Hangover II. Your expectations were high, and Hollywood let you down. Thankfully, due to the premise of this movie, it would be highly implausible that a sequel is made. The spontaneity and chemistry of the six central actors is about as rare as an elusive white buffalo, I suggest you see the movie before someone ruins the joke for you.
By month’s end This is the End will be added to the list of all-time highly quotable comedies. You know, the ones that are watched over and over again in hopes of finding a new nuance to laugh about. Is the movie offensive? And how! But an offensive movie executed well trumps any self-righteous indignation I might have been feeling, and leaves me with a smile. By the end of This is the End, I was wishing it wasn’t.