Friday, January 15, 2016

This Is The End Film Review


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Friends Til the End

We’ve all seen the articles, “So-and-so did x amount of drugs (photos included)” or “drama queen actor shuts down production with narcissistic rant”, but rarely do we actually get a look at the method behind the madness. Well, you won’t get that here either. Taking the freshest and most recognizable faces from contemporary pop culture, This Is the End blows every single personality trait that big cheese stars are often mocked for, and blows them cartoonishly out of proportion.

Long time buddies Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen meet at Seth’s Los Angeles home for a long overdue hang out. The two friends quickly recapture the joy of their friendship alongside mountains of marijuana, video games, and general tomfoolery. When Seth proposes that the pair go to James Franco’s housewarming party, the somewhat anti-social Jay reluctantly joins him. At the party several big name celebrities snort mounds of coke and engage in hilarious debauchery. Jay, feeling uncomfortable amidst a crowd of people he doesn’t really like, asks Seth to accompany him to the local corner store for a pack of cigarettes.

As they make their way to the store Jay grills Seth about how he’d rather not return to Franco’s, when suddenly, beams of light appear from the sky and begin sucking up random people. As the chaos begins to grip L.A., Seth and Jay make a hasty return to the party, only to find that no one believes their story. Just when things seem to reach a relative calm again, an earthquake strikes and opens a massive sinkhole right outside Franco’s home. As hundreds are swallowed by the Earth, Jay, Franco, Seth, and their friends Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson fortify Franco’s home to withstand the disaster. Soon, the six actors find themselves witness to a strange set of circumstances that Jay dubs the Apocalypse.

What starts out as a mockery of the Hollywood lifestyle rapidly turns into a horror movie (a la this year’s Evil Dead) with some laughs thrown in. The party scene that opens the film sets the pace for all the hilarity to follow. You’ll see celebrities you know from the tabloid pages engaging in some of the most ridiculous and unhinged behavior ever. Whether it’s Michael Cera engaging in a threesome, or Craig Robinson and Rihanna doing a lovely duet about not wearing panties, this is the sun baked Sodom at it’s sun baked Sodom-iness. The lampooning of all these big names is great fun to watch.

When all Hell breaks loose, this film doesn’t loose it’s comedic edge. It does add copious amounts of gore and genuine scares however. The way things play out, the film and it’s jokes get darker and darker as it moves along. Celebrities being impaled by errant lightposts, or falling into the molten depths of the Earth is certainly jarring imagery. Sometimes I had to pull myself out of the chaos and see the smirking attitude behind it all. This never detracts from the film as the laughs and scares are all genuine, and the movie deftly balances blood soaked terror with side splitting rants.

Sometimes however, the film became too caught up on one particular sequence of events or jokes. More than once a problem was dragged out to fill time, with the resolution flying swiftly by and the consequences amounting to little. A section in the middle of the film with Jonah Hill’s character comes to mind...

Still, it’s hard not to have fun when everyone on screen is clearly having the time of their lives. This whole movie feels like a group of high school buddies’ class project that they went all out on, to shock and amuse their audience. The principal cast does have a little too much fun at some points and a few in-jokes and references are probably only funny to them, but at the end of the day, there is so much love and joy packed into this movie’s 106 minute running time, it’s hard not to get swept up in it.

Also of note is the movie’s surprisingly strong message. This is a total bromance, first and foremost, but towards the second act it carries a powerful dose of a moral that amounts to “don’t be a dick”. Directors Rogen and Goldberg have a ton of fun toying with morally ambiguous situations, while at the same time showing the audience that things could have been better had people made the right choices. By the end of this movie you might find yourself looking at what happened to the main characters and asking yourself what you would do in an end of the world scenario, and if what you would do would be the right thing to do. That fact alone elevates this movie above Rogen’s other off the wall comedies and makes this a totally unforgettable romp.

This is the perfect summer comedy. With hilarious stabs at the decadent and depraved lifestyles of the affluent, enough scares and tension to justifiably label this as a horror film, and a strong message at it’s heart, This Is the End is a surprise hit for a drug and booze soaked buddy comedy.

Score: 8.5

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