Hey guys, Ben here. We have another guest review this week, this time from Joshua Irish from geekspodcast.com! Josh is a good guy and I’m happy to have him give us his thoughts on This Is The End, which I found to be pretty funny myself. So let’s welcome him for his first ever post on Monster Popcorn!
First off, a huge thanks to Ben for allowing me to take a break from the GeeksPodcast gig and guest post on here and *also* for being so ruggedly handsome. Now that the awkward part’s out of the way, let’s dive right in shall we?
This is The End‘s plot can be summarized pretty quickly. James Franco throws a party for the new generation Frat Pack, the apocalypse starts, hilarity ensues. Granted there are a few subplots sprinkled throughout but they are mainly there to set up the goofy pairings we get to watch with some of today’s funniest actors bumbling through apocalyptic exercises like fortification and procuring rations. These are some of the best gags too. Watching Seth Rogen earnestly apply duct tape to re-enforce a multi-ton slab of concrete is pretty great.
By far the best thing about writing this review is that I don’t have to remember any character names beyond the actors themselves, which is good because I usually have to keep an IMDB tab open just so I can remember everyone. All of the actors play ‘themselves’ or at least a scrambled version of their most common comedic roles. Danny McBride is a slightly darker Kenny Powers, Jay Baruchel is the same rationally freaked out voice of reason he usually is, Seth Rogen is consistently lovable and James Franco comes off as the slightly out-of-it stoner he often appears to be in other comedies. Craig Robinson shines with the slapstick bravado you come to expect, freaking out when appropriate and highlighting the sobering realities of their being ‘soft as baby sh*t.’ Jonah Hill seems to be the most radical departure from the rest of the cast in terms of his..uh.. alter-alter ego as he comforts Jay in a disturbing, motherly way to show mutual friend Seth that they can get along.
Unsurprisingly, there are a ton of cameos before everything literally goes to hell. Michael Cera shows up, as you’ve seen from the trailers, and easily steals the entire pre-pocalypse sequence. I won’t spoil anymore here but much like you would expect with a party thrown by Franco, there are a variety of stars and these cameos are some of the best parts of the movie. Fans of the TV show Freaks and Geeks are in for a few treats too.
So does the movie hold up when the world starts falling apart? For the most part, it totally does. Watching a group of your favorite comedic actors sorting out how to pass time while they wait for emergency services to ‘save the actors first’ is a hilarious concept and for the most part is well executed. Some of the jokes do run a bit long, but it’s fun watching the group rip on each other- especially where previous roles are concerned. You can tell there were a lot of scenes where Goldberg and Rogen just let the actors do their thing, especially in one particularly raunchy and hilarious exchange between Franco and McBride where you can almost feel the actors dying to break character. A movie like this DEMANDS chemistry between the actors because they’re effectively confined together in a small space for an extended period of time, like some hellish Real World. Thankfully all the actors have chemistry together which is the saving grace in some scenes that feel overly long.
This Is The End IS a comedy first and foremost but it’s also a pretty convincing action film in its own right. The special effects are anything but low-budget and even when they’re being used to punctuate the comedy they come off convincingly. As a glimpse into the actual apocalypse, it’s pretty harrowing but any uneasiness is dissolved pretty quickly with each demon dick you see. I’m sure there’s some formula that explains the McBride/Franco/mythical dong connection but I’m not going to attempt it here.
So should you see This Is the End? Absolutely, yes. It isn’t flawless but it’s a comedy with a refreshing premise that lends some lightheartedness to the kind of horrific situations that are so often used to set up more disturbing films.
by Joshua Irish
Follow Josh on Twitter @geekspodcast