Mania Review: This is the End - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride
  • Written by: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
  • Directed by: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Series:

Mania Review: This is the End

Beautiful friends?

By Rob Vaux     June 12, 2013
Source: Mania.com

 My wife laughed so hard during our screening of This is the End that she triggered an asthma attack. Six months without an incident, then you shove Jay Baruchel on E in her face and suddenly she’s having a near-death experience. Want to know more about This is the End? Because that’s really all you need. It’s a stoner comedy about the Biblical Apocalypse, featuring six well-known comic actors playing versions of themselves. Comedies like this either work or they don’t; everything else is just a distraction.

In this case, it works. Spectacularly so. It lacks the fundaments of storytelling, narrative progression, and any ideas beyond the basic one. But arm its cast with some good gags and give them a chance to riff off of each other, and you’ll laugh so hard it hurts. The comedy stems largely from our own celebrity obsessed culture, as Seth Rogen takes Baruchel to a party at James Franco’s estate in the Hollywood Hills. That’s when God decides to call it a wrap – an event that Baruchel witnesses but everyone else at the party can’t be bothered to notice – leaving the boys to deal with the rain of ash, erupting volcanoes and demonic rampages that herald the End Times.

Baruchel, Rogen and Franco barricade themselves in the house, joined by Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride, to find a way to survive. How do they respond? Not well. Instead of pulling together, they quickly dissolve into entitled bickering, oblivious to the crumbling world outside and too fixated on their own peccadillos to get their shit together. As self-referential humor goes, it’s fairly gutsy; Rogen (who also serves as co-writer and co-director) claims he based these onscreen personae on the worst aspects of each real-life figure (all friends of his). Franco exudes clueless pretension; McBride’s a selfish lout; Hill is duplicitous and condescending; and Baruchel (the closest thing to a hero) secretly feels he’s better than anyone else. The Book of Revelations gives them a crucible on which to test themselves, and they fail in incredible (and incredibly funny) fashion.

That, in essence, is the only trick. We get a few bones about the nature of friendship and making sacrifices for other people, but mostly it’s a grand goof-off with some boys who like to get baked… and who probably came up with this under the influence. (At least I hope so.) At the same time, using the apocalypse as a fulcrum smacks of genius. With it, This is the End not only skewers celebrity culture, but the often bloated Hollywood blockbusters that feed said culture. That’s more than enough to get this gang into the right mood for their silliness, as well as providing some fun comedic curve balls to keep things from getting too dull. (Without giving too much away, I’ll say that someone ends up possessed during a spot-on riff of Rosemary’s Baby that had me clutching my sides in agonizing glee.)

The raunch factor goes through the roof, of course, especially during early scenes featuring a bevy of additional young actors basically playing themselves. But while it occasionally overplays its gross-out hand, it never comes across as cruel or mean-spirited. The folks onscreen are happy to be the butts of their own jokes, sending up fame obsession by focusing on the beneficiaries rather than the enablers. It’s not profound, but hot-damn is it hysterical. And considering the pathetic state of movie comedies this summer, I don’t intend to quibble with it any more than that. If you need a good laugh, or a tonic for some of the more bombastic event pictures, look no further than This is the End: where Apocalypse Now is anything but bad news. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 40
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lracors 6/12/2013 4:21:23 PM

Hum... thinking... still may see MoS but ugh... decisions...

redhairs99 6/12/2013 4:46:54 PM

I think I'll agree with the B plus for this.  Damned funny, but not the greatest comedy ever.  It succeeds where it intended which was in making fun of each other and the publics obession with celebrity.

SPOILERS


SPOILERS

SPOILERS

 

I saw this in a free preview on Monday night.  I think my favorite part was probably the fake Pineapple Express 2 movie they made.  It looked WAY better than the actual first (and only) movie.  That said, there were a tons of really funny moments.  

I think one of the few things that took me out of the movie, however briefly, was the passage of time.  We aren't really given much basis to judge how much time has passed during this movie, but there were a couple of scenes that made me wonder just how much time had passed.  The scene where they later meet a "friend" and his new gang made me wonder about this time issue.

I know it's a comedy so it had to have a happy ending, but I think it would've been funnier to have altered the ending slightly with regards to Seth and the ascention.  Okay, it would have been darkly funny, and if this had been Trey Parker and Matt Stone they might have gone there with it but that's all I will say as to not offend anyone here.

END SPOILERS

Overall, a fun, at time hilarious, time at the movies.  I didn't pay for the screening I went to the other night, but I'll likely be back in the theater to see it again as my wife couldn't go do to work and she really wanted to see it too...Although, I'll probably have seen MoS at least twice by then (and that's if it takes at least until Saturday or Sunday for us to go back to this).

CalamityJohnson 6/12/2013 4:50:28 PM

with all the eye candy this will most likely be netflix fodder, but if it had been released... say, in the fall, it would most definitely been theater worthy. good to hear it was good. we were in need of a worthy new comedy.

redvector 6/12/2013 5:54:04 PM

 It would be a sign of the apocalypse if this movie didn't bomb. 

Wiseguy 6/12/2013 6:32:49 PM

I'll almost certainly see it sometime this weekend.

Not a huge fan seeing comedies in the theater or of the stars but I think this one is far out enough to make an exception

dalgoda 6/12/2013 7:06:05 PM

The wife and I saw this last night and laughed our butts off.  Definitely not for those easily offended.

SarcasticCaveman 6/12/2013 7:31:13 PM

 I just saw it again tonight.  I saw it last Wednesday and this past Monday in free screenings, and actually paid to see it a third time.  My first viewing, I would have gone higher than a B plus, but upon tonight's viewing, I think a B plus is definitely fair.  I'm not religous, but what really impressed me about it also was that while it definitely parodies beliefs of Christianity at large, it is really not mean spirited or hateful toward any religion in any way.  

Muenster 6/12/2013 8:05:42 PM

Oh, that's what was on the floor.

joelr 6/12/2013 9:01:21 PM

It has it's moments, but is largely forgettable. There's about 50 too many weed jokes, which is a sign of incredibly lazy writing, and an attempt to curry favor with the target audience. Brandon Trost's usually great cinematography is muddy, and most of the effects are just plain horrible, and not in a funny way. There's a chance to do some interesting stuff here, but they take the easy route every time. It has no interest to be anything but a pot fuled crowd pleaser, so if that's your thing you'll probably dig it.

Wiseguy 6/12/2013 9:37:29 PM

Damn Joe you're talking me out of seeing this. I stay away from stoner films because I just don't find that shit funny and I won't get on my soapbox about how I feel on the subject in general.

Now I'm on the fence. Maybe I'll just wait for cable or dvd
 

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