Saturday 20 July 2013

Film Review: This Is The End

"Whoa careful, I don't want to break a nail"

James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson play exaggerated versions of themselves in This Is The End, an adult comedy centred around the end of days. Crude, brash and utterly unashamed to rip the piss out of itself, This Is The End sees this talented gang of comedians score something of an own goal.

Michael Cera stole the show with just
5 minutes of screen-time
The premise for This Is The End is simple; each and every person in the movie is a twisted and 'cartoonish' representation of what we, the audience, perceive them to be like in real-life. Jay Baruchel arrives in L.A. to hang out with his friend Seth Rogen and together they go to a house-warming party at James Franco's house.

From here, all sorts of shit hits the fan as the apocalypse rains down outside and the gang are forced to barricade themselves inside Franco's mansion. Cue cabin fever, masturbation jokes and weed trips.

This might sound like a recipe for success but the honest truth is that the film is patchy and disjointed. So whilst there are some genuinely funny scenes, there is also a lot of low-brow comedy that will turn audiences off at the drop of a hat.

First off, I'll say that I did enjoy the premise; I like when actors poke fun at themselves and openly make jokes about past successes and failures. I liked that the film crammed in all kinds of nudges and winks to 127 Hours, Pineapple Express, Green Hornet or Spiderman 3.  It was all very clever and witty which is the biggest selling point.

The main cast were all solid with Franco, Rogen and Robinson in particular getting lots of great one-liners. I found that Jonah Hill's 'goody-two-shoes' version of Jonah Hill got very old very quick, as did McBride's schtick as 'the douchebag' of the group.

A poster for
This is the End
Also, the various cameos from all kinds of Hollywood celebs like Michael Cera and Emma Watson will raise a smile with cinephiles. Whoever came up with the idea of making Michael Cera a coked-up sex-pest is a genius. He completely stole the show and was barely in it. There are some other cameos I won't spoil; just keep your eyes and ears peeled for all of them to crop up.

In terms of the general tone of the film, you can expect a lot of jokes that involve dicks, masturbating and/or rape. This won't sit well with audiences who haven't enjoyed past films from this ensemble (a la Superbad) and generally just drags the film down. It's almost as if they thought "hey, we need a quick and easy joke in this scene" and then resolved the issue by throwing in a comment about jerking off. It's lewd and crude and exactly the kind of gross-out humour you would expect from guys like Rogen and McBride.

For me, all of the crudeness just went right over my head and didn't make me chuckle very much. Once or twice maybe, but for a whole two hours, it got old quick. Also, the film feels fairly long as the middle third stretches out as the group's cabin fever sets in. The CGI is dodgy but what did you expect, this isn't Man of Steel.

The ending carries a nice message about redemption and being selfless but the low-brow penis jokes quickly brings the whole show crashing back to Earth. I felt that I didn't care for the characters; whether they lived or died, it made no difference to me because they were all pretty unlikeable in one way or another.

I also thought that it would have been nice to include some more female faces from the kind of actresses you'd expect to see crop up (like Emma Stone or Mila Kunis) but aside from Emma Watson's all to brief cameo, ("Hermione stole all of our shit" is a great line btw) this is a bit of a sausage-fest (yes, I know, I cracked a joke about penises, that is what this film has done to me).

On the whole, This Is The End didn't meet the fairly high expectations I had going in and only made me laugh sporadically. It'd be huge fun if you enjoy the kind of comedy these guys produce but other than that, but unless you are a fan of Rogen/McBride/Hill comedy I would definitely give this one a miss.

I give This Is The End: 4/10

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