This is the End : Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg do Bromance, again. (Film Review)
This Is The End is about to hit Australian shores and already it has doubled it’s budget in juicy financial returns for writers, directors and producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The film is very much a “two-man show” with Rogen not only writing himself the nicest part of anyone, but also filling the film with what appears to be jokes his mates told him while they were all high. Somehow the pair have managed to get everyone else to play fairly unpleasant versions of themselves, particularly one Michael Cera who is such a good sport he virtually steals the show away from the actual stars. But as usual Seth Rogen gets away with a blatant vanity project, because he really does seem to be a nice guy, and he’s phenomenally likeable – a trait that is sort of made fun of in the film. This Is The End is very much like the Hangover series, if it had a brain and was made by Canadians: that is it pays out Hollywood, religion, faux relationships, elitism and horror films in between the drug and dick jokes.
The best thing about This is The End is that it is much better than you think it is and the worst thing about it is it could have been so much better than it actually is. The film relies heavily on parody and while we all know that’s what “dudes” talk about when they’re “high”, the whole Judd Apatow thing is getting really repetitive. I happen to fall into the category that likes their films (and I have a ‘thing’ for James Franco that I can’t possibly justify) but even as I was watching This Is The End I could see the end of this all being funny. It’s a great comedy, and I laughed all the way through, but Monty Python or Flying High it aint; Which is a bit of a shame because you really get the feeling if the guys stopped getting stoned and concentrated more when they wrote the script, they might have been able to add some timelessness in there, especially when the film really needs a good solid edit as it stands. I know their mates think everything they do is hilarious, but another, slightly different kind of comedy head on that script was badly needed.
Having said that, it’s highly unlikely that Rogen and Goldberg give a shit about longevity – and given they’ve doubled their money in the first two weeks, I can totally get that. This is definitely quick fix comedy: blink and it won’t be witty anymore. But as it stands it’s really funny. I sat next to a male in his early thirties and he laughed – I kid you not – non stop. I thought I was going to have to make a chemist run for ventolin at one point his giggle induced asthma got so bad. But then, to be fair, I laughed almost all the way through also, and found myself giggling at things I would have said could never make me laugh – like horror comedy for example.
The basic premise is Jay Baruchel is visiting his mate Seth Rogen in Hollywood, whose he always stays in when he comes to Hollywood, which he despises for being so phony. He has made Seth promise it will just be the two of them and plenty of drugs, and initially it appears Seth has complied until he tells his friend they have been invited to a party at James Franco’s house. Jay’s pissed because he doesn’t like Franco. He also doesn’t like any of the gang Seth hangs with now, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and particularly Jonah Hill who he claims pretends to be nice to him when secretly the hatred between them is mutual. The fighting over mates and general bitchiness turns out to be one of the primary themes of the film and is wonderfully expressed when “The Apocalypse” happens and a huge hole opens up in Franco’s front yard. The extremely funny moments where some people fall, others are left to fall and others are pushed into the gaping hole actually endeared Jonah Hill to me who is really funny in this film. He also gets to play one of the best roles – of course not a nice role, because only Seth is nice.
The initial party scene is one of the best moments with all those many cameos of stars acting like themselves and generally making fun of their “star persona”. It does all get a tad self referential at times, and the audience can feel as though they are trying to keep up with all the in jokes, which don’t always make you feel bad for being left out. The films middle gets a little draggy and this is where the edits would have been useful and perhaps some better writing, but the laughs are strong and everyone in this film is naturally funny and left to do funny their way, and that works. As I said above, Michael Cera is everyone’s favorite because he’s such a good sport but Jonah Hill is really funny and was my favorite in the film – after James Franco of course.
This is the End opens in Sydney on the 18th of July 2013. Have fun!