“This shit is cray, cray guys” —Seth Rogen, This Is The End.
‘Cray cray’ indeed Seth! This is The End is a comedy. With helpful dose of action, science-fiction, fantasy, horror edge thrown to the mix. The result? A weird mix that actually work for Rogen and Goldberg directing debut. Adapted from a 2007 short film called Jay and Seth vs The Apocalypse.
My initial thought before watching the film was this would be some kind of self-indulgent, circle-jerk of the Judd Apatow’s Brat Pack. And well, in a way it kind of is exactly a self-indulgent, circle-jerk of Judd Apatow’s Brat Pack! But in a way that i actually had fun watching it. The reasons: self-depracating jokes, absurdness to the max, cameos. And its even funnier the second time around. The premise apocalyptic world’s end itself already hint the level of absurdity especially when tackled in comedic genre. Which reminds me of Araki’s Kaboom and Wheedon’s Cabin in The Woods, which also tackle similar issue with different mythical/cult approach. Only this time it involves hollywood celebrities and spoofing a concept of biblical apocalypse with heaven and hell as the consequences.
NOTHING RUINS A PARTY LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD. It all started when Seth Rogen picked up Jay Baruchel from the airport to a weekend together of friends hanging-out, drinking and drugging their system. Rogen was invited to a house warming party by James Franco that night and despite his own preference of avoiding the hollywood-type, Baruchel reluctantly agrees to go with him. The young stars of hollywood are having a blast at the party, little did they know the shit is about to hit the fan that very night, when they have to face the sudden apocalypse. As earth *literally* swallow most of the party attendees and wiped out the rest of the city (and probably the world) into a hellish abyss, the surviving duo, along with their host, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride must learn how to get along in order to survive.
To be honest i never found anything Rogen did as particularly funny. But maybe thats why the film works for me because of it showcase how self deprecating he was, as well as everyone else is in this film, and how most of the jokes actually making a mockery by referencing to his career history, Green Goblin and Pineapple Express included. Jonah Hill from Moneyball as the saintly, good positive persona also quite funny, so is Craig Robinson as the all around regular good guys, and Baruchel anti-mainstream, hipster-approved problem. Craig McBride kinda become a scene stealer by becoming the wild card of the group, ensuing hilarity from his antics and his lines. James Franco is a blast to watch as he lambasted his own appreciation of arts that decorated his house, which includes a giant, A Clockwork Orange inspired, phallic shaped sculpture. I personally see this as jabs to his own pretentiousness, snobbery, and general fascination towards the gay culture. (That being said i am looking forward to see the much talked about Interior. Leather Bar. which is a collaboration between him and Travis Mathews). I guess this excessive self-mockery actually what make the movie works.
Just from looking at the poster (and reading the cast list) you know this is a male-centric, dirty comedy comedy. Danny McBride and Franco bantering over cum in porn magazine is one of the most hilarious scene in the film. So yeah, lot of joke involving penis, sex, and drugs-related jokes are to be expected. A lot of the material came from the actor themselves, their previous works, or other film as a pop culture reference. There are two jokes that include rape in the films: one involving a very creepy nod to Rosemary’s Baby, and the other includes an axe wielding Hermione, i mean Emma Watson. Well at least it acknowledge that rape happens to both genders instead of constantly victimizing women in a misogynistic point of view. Demons and other ungodly, hellish creatures appear in mediocre CGI but it does not decrease the flavor of the movie itself instead it actually in keeping with all the mockery happening throughout the film.
Other strength of the film lies in the cameo. Wait let me rephrase, the strength actually lies in an army of cameos! You can make a roll call of Apatow collaborators (such as Paul Rudd and Jason Segel), adding the likes of Rihanna, Mintz-Plasse, and god have mercy, the best cameo by Channing Tatum. I wonder if he ever did something more risqué back in his underwear modeling days, oh just wish this exist in Magic Mike as well. Michael Cera has a short screentime but he’s credited as a cast instead of a cameo and provide most of the entertainment found in the first act party scene at Franco’s. Emma Watson role is the most bad ass ever, where were this badass-ery during her time as Hermione Granger? Oh and the ending also give one more surprising cameo, i swear i almost fall down from my seat. This movie is off-the-hook insane!
It was a throughly enjoyable ride! I found this more enjoyable than i thought it would be. I don’t mind all the crudity because it was restrained enough and goes well with the tone of the movie overall. And now i don’t wonder why this never made it to Indonesian movie theater, and believe me even if it did, the censorship board would cut so much out of it, it wouldn’t be as funny. Fan of Rogen or any of the cast would enjoy this. Even if you’re not, then watch it for the ensemble or for the exaggerated self-ridicule. Or even just for the cameos! :D
THIS IS THE END (2013)
GENRE Comedy, Action, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Horror
DIRECTOR Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg | PRODUCER Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver | WRITER Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg | MUSIC Henry Jackman | CINEMATOGRAPHER Brandon Trost | EDITOR Zene Baker | STUDIO Point Grey Pictures, Mandate Pictures | DISTRIBUTOR Columbia Pictures | COUNTRY United States | RATING R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence | RUNNING TIME 102 minute | RELEASE June 12, 2013 (US) | BUDGET $32 million
STARRING Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson
CAMEO Rihanna, Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, Mindy Kaling, Paul Rudd, Martin Starr, Kevin Hart, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Aziz Ansari, Evan Goldberg, Channing Tatum, Brian Huskey, Backstreet Boys