This is the End
Starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson
Directed by Evan Goldberg
Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
With as many end of the world comedies as we’ve been hit with currently, in order to survive a film has to be two things: original and entertaining. This is the End excels in both. Rather than place fictional characters in a post-rapture apocalypse scenario, first time co-directors and co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg decided that they should create a universe where everyone is playing themselves. In this story, Seth and his best friend from Canada, actor Jay Baruchel, attend a party at the house of James Franco on a night that will begin the end of life on Earth. The huge and impressive comedic cast each play themselves, or at least a version of themselves that most people inside and out of Hollywood can go along with. To me, that is creative, extremely original and grabbed my attention from the first time I heard of the project.
But in order to make the movie entertaining, the story has to be solid and the writing funny and fortunately we get both here. Behind the silliness, there is an honest story of sincere friendship in a world where phony relationships abound. You can tell that the cast has an understanding of this and doesn’t have a problem confronting it. And then the funny is turned on and once I started laughing, I don’t remember stopping. I love a movie where it feels as if you just worked out your abs because you laughed so hard. It doesn’t happen often but it happened here. There were times I laughed over dialog that I wanted to hear but couldn’t control myself. I will probably even go see it again just to catch some of the things I missed out on.
What myself and many others might find disturbing is the actual subject matter. Most of the end of the world films we have seen have been based on asteroids, aliens or natural disasters. This one is based on the book of Revelation in the New Testament. While the film chooses to not be overly religious, it does offer up a scary scenario that some will be uncomfortable watching. I’m in that category. I was extremely uncomfortable given my beliefs, but I still managed to sit in my seat and laugh and then pray for forgiveness afterward. At the beginning of the movie Dogma, Kevin Smith writes “even God has a sense of humor. Just look at the Platypus.” Not sure if that counts here, but at the very least I think the movie is positive in that it will give people something to think about, whether Christian or not. It aligns itself with the point the bible makes in that good karma doesn’t get you into heaven, but then stops short in declaring what actually will and instead opts for a more secular viewpoint.
But since I seriously doubt that most folks will take the film’s philosophical teachings too seriously, if you let your hair down and just try to sit back and enjoy, this film will give you a really great time at the movies. A-