September 19, 2013

This is the End

Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, 2013

James Franco (playing himself) is hosting a housewarming party at his new palatial contemporary home when the party is inconveniently interrupted by the apocalypse. Terrified of the impending doom, they decide they are better off sticking together trying to survive.

Rogen and Goldberg and company pull off an impressive feat in this much-used premise of the apocalyptic doom and gloom epic. The final result is sort of like if Seth Rogen put pot brownies on the craft services table during the filming of The Day After Tomorrow. Powered by a strong cast that includes many of the usual Apatow suspects, the reactionary humor never runs dry. Several cameos (Michael Cera, Rihanna, Emma Watson) show that many were willing to take a pay cut to have some fun with the $32M budget. The $32M budget went impressively far, with special effects that should impress most with a big-budget feel. With the cast playing caricatures of themselves, they show that they are capable of making fun of themselves. Giving Rogen and Goldberg free reign with putting their writing at the screen is a good decision, already proven with Pineapple Express. With a flawless screenplay, soundtrack and editing, the colossal demise of our world has never been so funny. The earth opens up wide to swallow the coke-riddled narcissists of Tinseltown. Jonah Hill has one stand-out scene in the film where he's acting very Jonah Hilly that should have you laughing days later.

And so continues Seth Rogen's interesting career. He has some serious comedy gems under his belt at this point (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Pineapple Express) and of course some duds. His comedy is the most effective when you feel as if you're next in the weed circle. He's clearly his strongest in roles that are well within his comfort zone, and there's no shame in that. And while the amount of weed hasn't diminished, neither has the comedy. You get a sense watching that the boys have all grown up a bit, but haven't lost a step.

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