THIS IS THE END
***1/2 (out of 5)
June 12, 2013
Seth Rogen as SETH ROGEN
James Franco as JAMES FRANCO
Jonah Hill as JONAH HILL
Jay Baruchel as JAY BARUCHEL
Danny McBride as DANNY MCBRIDE
Craig Robinson as CRAIG ROBINSON
Michael Cera as MICHAEL CERA
Emma Watson as EMMA WATSON
Directed by: Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
By all assumptions, “This Is the End” should be entirely critic-proof. It should also not disappoint anyone who sees it, aside from people stumbling into a movie theater and seeing a movie completely blind to it. After all, this is the kind of movie that hides nothing in its marketing effort and delivers on exactly what you would expect. If you don’t like this sort of thing, you probably have no interest in seeing it.
It adds a bit of irony to the situation that “This Is the End” actually has a pretty strong Rotten Tomatoes score and likely will be a big hit for its modest (thought not too modest) budget.
On the surface, “This Is the End” seems like an excuse for Seth Rogen, James Franco and all their friends to spend $37 million to goof around for a couple weeks. And it is, I suppose. In the movie, all the actors play exaggerated versions of themselves who must live through the apocalypse during a party at James Franco’s house when the end of the world happens.
That’s about it on the plot, and I’m okay with that. “This Is the End” isn’t the kind of movie where you want to see strong character development or intricate plot points. In fact, when the movie does try to wrestle the plot and characters back into the spotlight from the other end-of-the-world shenanigans, it all just gets in the way of the comedy. In this sense, it reminds me of a movie like “The Invention of Lying,” which played out well as an absurd comedy but completely fell apart in the third act when a story was forced to happen.
“This Is the End” doesn’t fall apart in the end, but the best moments are earlier in the film. The movie shines when the actors don’t take themselves too seriously and jab each other over their career choices, past projects and general public personas.
Some of the characters get on your nerves quickly (Danny McBride, I’m looking at you), but there’s enough funny guys in the cast that the gags get spread around relatively well.
As a whole movie, “This Is the End” runs a bit too long and gets self-indulgent – especially its final moments. It also serves as a reminder that not all of young Hollywood has made a name for itself in weed comedies, since aside from not having Kevin Smith in the film, this mainline cast represents the lions share of that group of actors.
Still, for as little plot and focus as this movie has, it holds together surprisingly well. And since it’s a strong R-rated raunchy film, not all the funniest moments are in the trailer. “This Is the End” works better than it has any business doing. It’s not to be taken seriously, and it’s good for a nice dose of laughs.
If you’re planning on seeing this film, just remember that it’s basically a modern-day Cheech & Chong movie with a bigger budget and more focus disguising itself as an event film for the summer.