Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review: "This is the End"

I was having a crummy weekend and I wanted to see something funny.   I wanted to go to a movie where I didn't have to think and I could just sit back, shut off my brain and laugh.  I should have known. Not only does my brain NOT shut down but it's a little difficult to do so with all the rape jokes, not to mention the sheer lack of plotline.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's take a few steps back.  I reviewed It's a Disaster earlier this week and that too was about the end of days (sort of) but it threw into sharp relief that This Is The End made me angry.  Let's break this down into some bullet points so it doesn't turn into a long list of why I'm angry with Seth Rogen:

-the jokes were cheap, obvious, and in some cases offensive
-the plot never really expanded beyond the initial premise
-James Franco
and worst of all...
-it could have easily been a better movie

Cheap and obvious jokes is sort of the hallmark of that particular genre of film.  Now perhaps I'm not audience for these but I have enjoyed them in the past (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Superbad) but I was surprised that I didn't enjoy it more.  While it starts off well with lots of timely celebrity jokes and a great turn by Michael Cera playing a coked out and misogynist version of himself., the film quickly veers off into the unknown and somewhat serious territory of the apocalypse, a problem the protagonists (and the film) are not prepared to address.  So instead, after tossing a whole host of cameos into a giant sink hole in front of James Franco's house, the film does nothing....for the better part of forty minutes.

Apocalypse aside, the remaining characters (Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Danny MacBride, and James Franco) proceed to cower in Franco's house, talking ad nauseam about their lack of food and their need to be rescued by others.  Unfortunately while likely to be their actual reaction, this sets them up as passive bystanders and means that until Emma Watson shows up and steals all their water about midway through the film, they have no desire or motivation to do anything...so they don't.  They sit around, smoking weed and talking about feelings and rape jokes for the bulk of the film until they are forced out into the open by an invading demon in the form of a demonically possessed Jonah Hill.

James Franco is obnoxious throughout the film.  At no point does he add anything to the situation, and his meta version has a strange obsession with Seth Rogen that never really adds any value to the film.  Even his eventual exit from the film is drawn out and annoying.

Finally, from the beginning scene in which Jay and Seth smoke themselves into a Backstreet Boys flashback, to the ultimately resolution of the film, there are some grudgingly good elements.  Clearly this demonstrates that it could have been great if someone who wasn't perpetually high had given the film a once over before it was released.

My rating? 1.5 out of 4 (because it had potential).

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