web treasures and personal adventures

This Is the End. A review (because I have no one to discuss it with).

This is the End is, at its core, about what happens to two friends when life, and lots of death, get in the way. Outside its core, it’s full of self-aware meta humor. But it feels fresh the whole time. And hilarious. 

If this is your first Seth Rogan Crew film (Superbad and Pineapple Express were also written by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg), you’ll miss out on some of the self-referencial humor. But there’s no way this is your first Seth Rogan Crew film.

It begins with Jay Baruchel getting picked up at LAX by Seth Rogan. They play themselves, or some version of themselves. Right off the bat, Seth Rogan is being made fun of for his signature Muppet-esque laugh, and Jay is holding on to his Canadianness while constantly expressing his distaste for Los Angeles. From there, it quickly dives into a beautiful weed-filled montage, jammed with more laughs.

Once the smoke session ends, Jay reluctantly follows Seth to James Franco’s house-warming party, and everyone is there. Cameo after cameo. You see people you know, and you see them in ways you haven’t seen them before. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but Emma Watson is beautiful and Michael Cera breaks out of his shy/nervous archetype that he created over the past decade. And you’ll love the new Michael Cera. 

Then the world starts to fall apart. At first it’s unclear as to what is happening. Earthquake? Aliens? Rapture? All of the above? The Seth Rogan Crew bands together, hunkers down in James Franco’s house, and does their best to survive.

Once the party is dispersed, and only the SRC remains, we get a better sense of the characters. Each actor plays himself, and you start to wonder how much of the on-screen character is true to life. Jay holds on to his roots North of the wall border while Rogan has fully adopted LA as his home. Or rather, he’s let LA, and all that comes along with it, adopt him. And then there’s Seth’s new friends. Jonah Hill, now a serious actor, is the wannabe mature, nice guy. Franco is the actor who fully immerses himself in every role, and holds on to his props, (while also having a crush on Seth Rogan). Craig Robinson, and his embroidered towel sidekick, fit right in, even better than expected. And Danny McBride shows up like a “real life” version of Kenny Powers.

This is about how far the trailer covers, and part of the reason I liked the movie so much. I was sold with only knowing the story through the first act. From here, the movie progresses on a laugh-a-minute, (and never a cheap one) ride to the end. And the end is amazing.

This could have been a poor collection of expected gay/dick/cum jokes filmed by friends hanging out together, but instead it’s a great collection of gay/dick/cum jokes, far beyond what anyone could have predicted. Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg have figured out what works, and they deliver 100%. Jay gets the spotlight as the protagonist, but never tries to steal the show. He makes the rest of the guys funnier.

I hadn’t laughed this hard in a movie theater since the first time I saw Superbad, which is fitting, given the credits. It’s tough to applaud this movie when you look at its guts on paper. It’s another bromance film. It’s another end-of-the-world scenario. It’s another movie with all the guys you know. But this is a new adventure. The kind you look back on and love even after it’s over. If anything, the only thing you can expect from this movie is that it may be the funniest one you’ll see all summer. And that’s not a bad thing.

Side note: There’s a rape joke in the middle of the movie. Given the conversation the comedy world has been having lately, it puts this scene into a new context. It stood out to me. I wonder how this will affect the discussion, or if it will change anything at all.