Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"This is the End" Sort of Reviewed

I tried to write a coherent longer form post about this movie, but I really don’t remember it on a scene by scene basis in a way that makes that desirable so I’m just going to drop a few points:

·      Part of the reason that I can’t recall the film in much detail is its structure.  After a brief introduction, the apocalypse begins, and from there we’re mostly stuck with the six main guys in James Franco’s house for the next 75 minutes.  The main artery is a will they or won’t they get back together bromance between Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel.  It works for the most part but I think this group of actors and writers (Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote and directed the film) have told this type of story better in movies like “Superbad” and even “Pineapple Express.”  Other than this the movie is really a string of vignettes with what I imagine is a lot of improvisation that is funny in the moment but not crisp enough to retain in detail. 

·      There’s a real elevation whenever Danny McBride is on screen.  While Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Craig Robinson, and Jonah Hill all play slightly exaggerated versions of themselves, McBride exists in an entirely different reality.  He’s sort of like John Belushi was in “Animal House” in this way.  I think Rogen and Golberg were aware of this because they use McBride sparingly, and it takes a solid half hour for him to get introduced.  His character is the only one who is able to milk any comedic material out of the apocalypse conceit itself since the rest of the actors are playing it more or less straight.  Which brings me too…

·      What was the point of having Rogen play Rogen, Hill play Hill, and etc.  In the beginning there’s some slight fun that is had at the expense of Hill and Franco’s public personas, but then the gimmick is more or less dropped and this becomes a standard survival comedy.  My read its that Rogen and Goldberg made their initial digs at the various guys and then realized that they really didn’t have much left in the tank that wasn’t related to James Franco.  As a favor to him they didn’t pile on and what we got was what we got.  The best use of the novelty is early in "This is the End" that I won't spoiler here.  

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