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This Is the End: A 10 Year Reunion of Sorts

June 21, 2013

This is the End movie poster

This is the End is like The Expendables except these famous young comedians have no problem making fun of themselves. The all-star cast of Apatow acolytes roast themselves as the world burns around them. The movie could have been a lazy showcase but instead features some huge laughs involving capri suns, horny demons and masturbation etiquette. This Is the End feels like the ten year reunion from when these guys got their first big breaks. They’ve occasionally worked together, gone their own way and are now back under one roof in a very uncomfortable spot.

Shakespeare it ain’t but it does have a comfortable comedic flow due to the familiarity of the actors and commitment to their roles. It has been fun watching this crew navigate Hollywood since the early 2000’s. The six actors have all had highs (127 Hours, Million Dollar Baby, Hot Rod, Tropic Thunder, Goon, Pineapples Express, Moneyball, 21 Jump Street, Knocked Up, Superbad, All the Real Girls, 50/50), Lows (Annapolis, Green Hornet, Guilt Trip, Your Highness, Babysitter, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Peeples) and everything in between (She’s out of My League, Hot Tub Time Machine, Observe and Report, Oz, Land of the Lost).

The idea for the film came from the 2007 short film that Rogen and Baruchel made called Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse. The short provided a groundwork for  Rogen and co-writer Adam Goldberg to write This is the End. The plot of the the film centers around Jay Baruchel visiting his close friend Seth Rogen for a weekend of weed, video games and good times. However, Rogen convinces Jay to go to a huge house party at James Franco’s lavish new mansion. What follows is the rapture, Michael Cera getting impaled and a whole lot of self discovery amongst the six as they realize they are not good people.

This is the end actors

The actors have no problem lampooning themselves as selfish, petty and passive aggressive. I loved the moment when Craig Robinson calls out uber negative Jay Baruchel by saying “I bet you hate movies that are universally loved.” Of course, we find out Jay hates Forrest Gump. Also, Jonah Hill opens up a prayer with “It’s Jonah Hill, from Moneyball.” While the world is burning they form alliances, argue about masturbating on porno magazines and let all forms of pettiness fly. However, as in a lot of their films there is a sweetness permeating through the smoke haze. Craig Robinson comes across as the nicest dude ever, Franc0 absolutely loves Rogen and McBride may be homicidal but is sorta misunderstood. Together, they endure water shortages, a misunderstanding with Emma Watson and sharing a delicious Mars candy bar.

I dug this film because it walked a tight rope. Sometimes creators think that putting funny people together is enough to get a laugh. However, you can tell that care was taken to create likable characters and some genuinely tense moments. They’ve made unlikable characters redeemable and built some comedic set pieces that provide laughs throughout. The movie also has a charming DIY feel that creates claustrophobia amidst the shenanigans. There is something at stake for these guys and it isn’t just an excuse to put them in a room and let them riff about “sinkhole De Mayo.”

Watch This Is the End. Enjoy the reunion. Look forward to This Is the End Again in 10 years.

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