Sunday, 14 July 2013

This Is The End

Jay Baruchel arrives off his plane and meets Seth Rogen, and they almost immediately head to James Franco's house for his house-warming party. However, strange events begin to occur, and soon a huge earthquake strikes the house. When the party-goers head outside, there are massive signs of destruction, and they assume the inevitable; the world is ending. After numerous famous faces are killed in increasingly violent ways, just Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride remain, having barricaded themselves inside Franco's house, awaiting their rescue.

This, immediately, is risky territory. A film with this many big names is frightening enough, but having each actor play a fictional version of them self is just insane. However, it works. It really, really does. Not only is this the funniest film of the year thus far (it will take a lot to beat), but quite possibly the funniest film since Bridesmaids. What Rogen and Even Goldberg, in their directorial debut, have done here, is make a gut-bustingly hilarious take on the apocalypse genre, and even manage to leave a little bit of heart.

The script isn't perfect, but it was never going to be. Jokes such as Franco and McBride threatening to "wank onto each other" are hardly funny to begin with, and just get worse as they go along. But, for the most part, This Is The End is simply very, very funny. Whether it's through brilliant intertextual references (The Exorcism of Jonah Hill), expertly timed death scenes (Michael Cera's is done particularly well) or giant innuendos, the film has laughs from beginning to end.

One of the best things about this, and something that is lacking in a lot of modern comedies, is the element of fun. You can so clearly see the enjoyment these actors had making this film, and their fantastically energetic performances pay off. Not 20 minutes of the film, we know who we are supposed to like, and who we are not supposed to like. This then allows the film to suddenly convert that. Surprisingly, there is a good deal of character development here; we're treated to a real insight of the personality of each character. Jonah Hill, for me, is the stand-out of the film. Whilst be begins the film seemingly quiet and calm, specific events cause this to change, and he handles this perfectly. His performance could go down as one of the best modern comedy performances in a long long time.

Again, unexpectedly, there are morals here, and a good deal of heart. the film, ultimately, is about friendship, and how if we partake in good things now, we will be rewarded later in life. The final act of the film displays acts of courage and heroism, and there's moments of genuine sympathy for some characters. It's hardly emotional, and it's not likely to induce tears (except those of laughter origins), but you won't be able to help yourself but smile during the film's final moments, when the characters we like seem to prevail.

Overall, there is a lot to like here. Not only is this insanely funny, but as a film in itself, This Is The End really works. We grow to genuinely care for the characters, there's a healthy amount of development, the plot runs along nicely, and it has the most unexpectedly bonkers final scene I think I've ever seen. It won't be to everyone's taste, no, but if you like films about actors trapped in a house with nothing but water, drugs and a milky way, with raping demons, giant dildos and the worst attempt of an exorcism you will ever see, you'll have a great time.

To Summarise: Hysterically funny, well developed and bravely acted, "This Is The End" is a surprisingly brilliant comedy, with a unexpected heart.

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