Title: This Is The End (2013)
Director: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson
You all know Seth Rogen as the actor behind such films as Knocked Up (2007) and Superbad (2007). He’s currently enjoying a high point in his career working alongside people like Joseph Gordon Levitt, Michelle Williams, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz and even Barbara Streisand. Rogen has also worked with many renowned filmmakers and directors; but one thing you may not know about Rogen is that he himself writes and produces films. He is as active behind the camera as he is in front of it. Often times, Rogen collaborates with his writing buddy Evan Goldberg, with whom he has collaborated in writing films like Superbad (2007). Each of them has branched into the entertainment business in their own way, Rogen in the writing acting department, while Goldberg more on the writing producing department, but they always end up working together again. When they wrote Superbad, a teenage comedy which went on to become a smash hit, they decided their next film was going to be called Jay and Seth vs. the Apocalypse. This film would be about two friends who end up locked up inside of an apartment as the apocalypse is occurring outside, the two guys end up hating each other. They wrote it, shot a little trailer for it and then put it on You Tube. As of today, it’s been viewed by more than 630,000 people! So anyhow, they shopped their project around, found someone to back it up and voila! We have This Is The End, a film both written and directed by Seth Rogen and his pal Evan Goldberg. It’s obvious this was a dream project of theirs, so, how was it?
The interesting part about This Is The End is that all the actors that appear in it are playing themselves. So Seth Rogen is Seth Rogen, James Franco is James Franco and so forth. This of course isn’t entirely true because these actors are playing exaggerated or even alternate versions of themselves. But still, I gotta say it’s a fun gimmick imagining that Danny McBride is that much of an asshole. So anyways, the idea is that James Franco is putting on this party of the century type of deal where all these famous actors and performers are attending. So you’ll see Michael Cera doing lines of coke and slapping Rihanna’s ass! There’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse! There’s Paul Rudd! There’s Aziz Ansari and so forth. This part of the film is jam packed with cameos, which is fun. Even Jason Segel shows up at one point. So there’s a moment in the night where Rogen and Baruchel decide to go out to buy a pack of cigarettes when suddenly, the end of the world begins. What is triggering the end of the world? Why is blue light sucking people up to the heavens? Why is the earth opening and swallowing people up? Could this be the ‘judgment day’ that the bible talks so much about?
So yeah, the concept is that God has finally brought the end of the world upon humanity, so it’s up to these guys to figure out how they can get into heaven because apparently god didn’t think they were worthy. This is an awesome concept because I’ve always wondered how the biblical end of the world would look like. In my mind it was way more epic then what we see in This Is The End, but that has to do with the fact that This Is The End takes place almost entirely inside of James Franco’s house! This to me is one of the elements that makes this film so much fun because you hear these guys saying things like “Let’s make a sequel to Pineapple Express” and then they go on about what they actually want to do with that sequel, while smoking a joint! “We should make sequels to all our movies!” Funny, funny stuff. I loved how each of the characters takes on a persona, McBride is the hateful asshole, James Franco hates McBride, but loves Rogen. Jay Baruchel is the anti-social dude, Michael Cera is the out of line coke head. So it’s fun having all these guys partying their brains out, and then having to deal with surviving the apocalypse. That’s a double dose of funny situations.
Many will find this film extremely offensive, and it’s mostly to do with the fact that the film makes fun of all sorts of Christian beliefs. It’s the kind of film that takes all that mythology from the bible and turns it into one big fat joke, kind of like Paul (2011) did. In my opinion, this serves as a way to show just how ridiculous some of these ideas presented in the bible can get. For example, the film plays with this whole notion of ‘the rapture’. This is the event in which supposedly god takes the good people of the earth up to heaven with him while leaving the sinners down here to rot in a hell on earth. In the film, a blue beam of light sort of beams you up to heaven, kind of the way they beam you up in a Star Trek movie. Watching all this I was thinking how silly and hilarious it all is! But then you realize this isn’t so far from what the bible actually teaches! I mean all of the animals in the world fit into one boat? So you go up to heaven and you get a halo on top of your head? Come on! Eve actually talks to a snake! What? And let’s not forget the dragons with seven heads! If all these ideas sound fantastic to you, then you should know they all come out of the bible! Rogen and Goldberg take these ideas and put them in their movie and make you realize damn, this stuff’s actually funny! When James Franco is being beamed up to heaven is one of the most hilarious things in the movie, you gotta see it, I dare you not to laugh. While watching This Is The End I got a Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1990) vibe from it because same as that movie, the main characters go both to heaven and hell and they both offer us hilarious versions of these mythical places. In This Is The End heaven is one big ass party, but I ain’t gonna spoil it for you.
Aside from having fun with Christian beliefs, the film is also extremely graphic in nature. Not just with its jokes, but with its depiction of gore. For example, there’s only one porno mag in the whole house, and these five dudes have to survive the apocalypse with it, so I guess they take turns using it? Point is at one point a fight breaks out between Franco and McBride because McBride jizzed all over the magazine! This is just an example of how crazy the jokes can get, if you like your comedy cute and cuddly don’t go see this movie. If on the other hand you like your comedy raunchy, then you’re in for a treat. I read that while making this film, almost every actor (except James Franco) at one point said they wouldn’t do something because it was too crazy. I mean, Emma Watson herself stepped out of the movie half way because she thought the ideas were too crazy. She was actually supposed to be in the movie a lot more, but bowed out because she couldn’t take it. Hey, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen! So that lets you know this one will test your limits of good taste. And then there’s the gore, which is plentiful and hilarious! Ever wanted to see someone play football with some dudes decapitated head? Then this is the movie for you!
How cool was it to have all these funny guys together on the same film? I mean, this is the kind of comedy I love, where they put a bunch of funny dudes together in one movie and see what happens. Obviously there was a lot of improvisation on this film, its part of what I love about movies like this one. I mean, you can tell these were really just a bunch of friends getting together having fun making a movie. I’m sure it must have been pretty difficult to keep a straight face while shooting some of these scenes. One idea did pop into my head; maybe it should be this team of comedians that takes a stab at a Ghostbusters reboot? It would be hilarious to seethese dudes playing Peter, Eagon, Ray and Winston, but alas, that’s just me pipe dreaming. But you gotta admit it would be cool wouldn’t it?
So yeah my friends, this movie is all over the place! It’s extreme, it’s funny, it’s gory, and these characters curse like sailors even when in heaven! “Welcome to heaven motherfuckers!” Yes, this film is rated ‘R’ and don’t you forget it! I was surprised there weren’t any topless girls in this movie; it was all that was missing really. When I went to see this one, half of the theater was laughing, the other half was sitting uncomfortable in their chairs, so it’s a divisive movie. My guess is that the conservative half, the half that goes to church every Sunday was about ready to leave the theater, while the other half were laughing their asses off, I was of course laughing my ass off. After all, if there is a God, he’s gotta have a sense of humor right? I mean, he created George W. Bush didn’t he? So my advice is just go see this one with an open mind, ready to be offended, you just might find yourself having a good time.
Rating: 4 out of 5