When a movie is really bad, they don’t screen it for the critics. I remember This is the End screened a number of different times, and I missed each one. Once it hit the theatres, I didn’t care enough to go see it. Nothing about the commercials made me laugh.
Then it’s the day after 4th of July and like everybody else, I was making it a four-day weekend. The Krikorian movie theatre in Vista Village was right around the corner from my house. I hadn’t seen a movie there since Benjamin Buttons when my sister was in town. Nothing like peanuts at Five Guys, ice cream at Cold Stone, and an air conditioned movie theatre on a hot day.
The trailers for Grown Ups 2 came on. The first movie wasn’t very good, and the commercials for this looked awful. I feared that This is the End would be the Apatow gang doing this type of unfunny movie that the Saturday Night Live cast put together. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. I laughed from start to finish.
Co-written and directed by Seth Roger and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Goon, Green Hornet, Pineapple Express), they’ve combined an apocalyptic end of the world story with a stoner comedy. On paper, this thing shouldn’t have worked.
Pineapple Express wasn’t very funny, and Your Highness was one of the worst comedies ever (which makes it funny that Danny McBride mentions not making a sequel in this).
The movie starts with a party at James Franco’s house. And after finding out it was Paris Hilton’s house they filmed The Bling Ring in, I was wondering if it really was his place (sans the goofy paintings and movie props he had everywhere).
The party had a lot of great cameos, although the best cameo comes near the end of the movie.
Even the jokes at the party that weren’t original, made me laugh. Jason Segel explaining a goofy TV sitcom to Kevin Hart, who thought it was hysterical.
After all these celebrities fall into a hell hole and get killed in various ways, we’re left with a house that has McBride, Rogen, Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Jay Baruchel.
Jay had come to L.A. to hang with Rogen, and wasn’t enjoying himself at the Hollywood party. He’s having less fun once he becomes barricaded in like it was some kind of reality show.
The clip you constantly saw of the guys fighting over the last candy bar was funny, but there are plenty more scenes along those lines that are funnier. One involves McBride drinking more than his share of water. His logic is that he weighs more than Jay, why should they have the same amount (note to self: DO NOT get stuck in the apocalypse with Danny McBride).
I thought the self-parody worked great for a few reasons. It was smartly written, fairly original, and they merely touch on a few of things we think about these guys. The jokes about Franco being into “the art” and all the pot smoking…it never really overwhelms the production. You aren’t watching it wondering what all the inside jokes are about.
Some of the special effects are cheesy, and some are surprisingly good. Yet this is just supposed to be a crazy comedy, so you don’t mind any of that. It’s really the best way for these guys to make a comedy. Sometimes when you get so crazy in a movie like Superbad or Pineapple Express, it takes away from the realistic parts of the movie. You get to pick one or the other – it can be a crazy film like this or Airplane. It’s often better to do that, and just throw it all against the wall and see what sticks. In this, most of it sticks.
Emma Watson, who since her Harry Potter days, keeps picking projects she’s great in. She’s the party guest who feels in danger of being raped by this group of men. How she handles herself is hysterical.
The movie uses the Whitney Houston song I Will Always Love You, as well as Gangnam Style, in ways that you’ll enjoy. The rest of the soundtrack is solid, with Cyprus Hill, KRS-One, Funkadelic, and a couple of Black Sabbath tunes. It would’ve been great to hear The Doors singing “This is the end…”
As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m trying to decide if I should describe a few of the funnier scenes. If I did, it would ruin it.
I thought of what some of the funnier lines were, and there were just so many. Seth telling Jay “Nobody puts Jay in the corner.”
Cera offering a woman some of his juice box while saying “It’s sippy time.”
Kevin Hart kicking Az Aziz into a hole instead of helping him, while yelling “You’re already in the hole!”
Hill praying to God by starting “It’s me, Jonah Hill…from Moneyball.”
Robinson, angry at the water supply McBride ruined, shouting “Motherf*****s is thirsty!”
That doesn’t mean a couple of the scenes couldn’t have been edited a bit. And as usual with this group, not all the improv stuff works.
It’s sophomoric summer fun that everyone will enjoy. Well, everyone over 16. This is a hardcore R rating.
I’m giving it 4 stars out of 5.