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An Appropriate Ending – A review of This Is the End
Title: This Is the End
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
Run Time: 107 minutes
Directors: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan
Stars: Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Michael Cera
Summary: This movie is this year’s Hangover (the original, not 2 and absolutely NOT 3), with the same biting edge humor but minus the over-the-top hilarity that made The Hangover the instant success that it became.
Despite their obvious box office attraction and their ability to draw in younger viewers, I will always consider most of today’s comedy actors to be B-listers and second rate performers in oft over-rated big budget cringe worthy efforts sold as promising big laughs, most of which are revealed ahead of time in the previews. Yawn.
This way, at least, I’m not disappointed when a comedy like This Is the End shows up in theater multiplexes. I actually laughed out loud a few times at this one.
The film starts out innocuously enough, with Jay Baruchel, perhaps one of the better actors in this crop of misfits, arriving in L.A. to spend time with his buddy Seth Rogan, who ironically enough is not as annoying here as he is in most films in which he DOES play an obnoxious version of himself.
The two decide to join a larger party going on at the home of James Franco. There, they will meet and interact with other “comedians” like Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera.
Perhaps one of the best in-jokes in the movie is that all the actors here are playing versions of themselves and the premise behind the film is the coming of the apocalypse while this narcissistic party is going on at Franco’s home.
If this is supposed to be a movie about redemption, none of the characters do a good job of redeeming themselves here. Even the actors who try to come off as “good” fall just a little short of achieving what I would even consider close to being heaven-worthy. But I digress.
In the spirit of the worst Hollywood has to offer, the two hour “comedy” serves up the usual fare of what passes for humor today. There will be the usual pot references, references to gay sex, typically self-centered behavior that you can come to expect from actors in Hollywood and even a discussion about a potentially forced interaction with Harry Potter sweetheart Emma Watson, who has an extended cameo in this movie that’s really about the guys trying exceptionally hard to avoid heaven and make it to the underworld.
Some of the best scenes actually involve the parodying of some of the great Hollywood horror blockbusters. Hill gets to play a version of Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist, complete with devilish vocals and wan makeup. The only thing missing is the split pea soup. Or would that have been TOO obvious?
What ends up working, though, is the potential for redemption when some of the characters try to save themselves from eternal damnation by working to save each other. That brings the spirit and the tempo of the movie up a notch and elevates it from the usual less-than humorous Hollywood comedic fare.
As comedies go today, this one actually does have some merits. While I certainly won’t promote this movie as one of the best films Hollywood has to offer, for a funny movie, it’s got a lot more going for it than most summer comedies. The only ideal scene that’s missing here would have been Zach Galifianakis’ decapitation, which would have served up Apocalyptic redemption for Hangover III. And that would have been the perfect ending for ANY Hollywood disaster movie.
I give This Is the End 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.