Sunday, October 1, 2023

This Is the End

Movie Name:
This Is the End
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Martin Starr, Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review
Seth Rogen and his creative partner Evan Goldberg's feature directorial debut is a doomsday comedy, one that pokes fun at celebrities and even at Rogen and his friends themselves. The narrative focuses on Jay Baruchel who is in LA to spend time with Seth Rogen. After getting high and doing a bunch of random things around Rogen's house, the latter manages to convince Jay to go to James Franco's party, even if Jay isn't that comfortable with that crowd. Jay manages to convince Seth not to leave him by himself at the party. Soon an earthquake strikes and everyone goes outside to check on what's happening. A bunch of actors and performers get killed, and they soon realize the rapture is upon them. Seth, Jay, James, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson all get back in the house, and decide to ration whatever food and drinks they have left. However Danny McBride who crashed the party and fell asleep in one of Franco's bathrooms soon destroys their finely arranged set up. As they try to get through the end of the world and figure out how to get away from the hell that LA has turned out to be, all matters of occurrences come their way, including Jonah Hill getting possessed.  They soon realize only by performing a selfless act can they redeem themselves and ascend to heaven. 
"This Is the End" is a surprisingly ingenious and at times quite funny comedy from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Everyone on the film is essentially playing caricatures of themselves, in a quasi-meta type of way, which allows for all of them to poke fun at their own personas, but only so far, since they're all playing with clich├ęs of what actors are perceived to be and behave like (particularly the very successful ones). This ingenuity however is not as acerbic as it can be, since the script does go for some slapstick and the gross-out laugh, failing to actually probe deeper into the narcissism and rampant self-serving aspect that exists to a certain extent in that particular artistic community. Either way, the film smartly references other iconic films such as William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" but in a comedic way, and gives some of these actors an opportunity to create new types of caricatures (Jonah Hill's being of course the most obvious one, followed by the potent cameo of Emma Watson). It's a film that for all its limitations in terms of characters and set up, is nonetheless pretty funny, since it also juggles with people's perceptions of these actors and their image. And while its message is somewhat basic, the journey getting there is nonetheless entertaining and at times quite funny (Jonah Hill's possession is a highlight). The cast is uniformly solid, with highlights going to Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Danny McBride who in particular manages to create someone truly exasperating and unpleasant. The production team is solid, including Henry Jackman's score, Brandon Trost's cinematography and Chris Spellman's production design. Worth watching. 

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