Superbad titty f*cked the clichés out of teen coming of age comedies. Pineapple Express reinvented the stoner film. And the masterminds behind both, Seth Rogen and the behind the scenes, wizard of Oz-like Evan Goldberg, have brought us something even hedier in their directorial debut.
This is the End feels less like "the end" and much more like a new beginning for Hollywood comedies. Never ever have I ever seen so many 90's pop culture allusions in a film. I swear, by the moon and the stars and the sky that Michael Cera made me laugh like a hyena on mushrooms. The fusion of a Hollywood "A" list house party with the book of Revelation was original, yeah yeah and equally hilarious. The most distinct, powerful feature of this film however, is its premise--the funniest people in Hollywood under the age of 40, house party at Franco's, then the Apocalypse.
From the film factory that regurgitates the same formulas and premises to the point of nausea. And the people that brought you boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back 1,2,98 and 341; the two dudes that switch bodies trilogies and the acclaimed thriller where the hero doges 387 bullets and saves the world...comes a comedy where your favorite actors play themselves, get slayed on booze, sour diesel and shrooms or, in Michael Cera's case, mountains of Himalayan snow and have to grin and bear the end of the world.
But a great premise alone cannot sustain an audience let alone a high frequency of LOLs and fortunately, for Rogen and Goldberg, their cast is full of comics in full command of their prodigious talent. Danny McBride is not a guilty pleasure. I'm not embarrassed nor ambivalent about loving his humor like three girls who enjoy sucking my D daily. I worship this guys entire catalog, from Footfist Way through This is the End , except EB and Down Season III and Your Highness. In this film we meet the real Danny McBride, not Fred Simmons or Kenny Powers. And he's even funnier than the ultra ego-manic legends he's created. Like Kenny Powers, he's not afraid to haze and mock everybody, even Academy Award nominated actors James Franco and Jonah Hill. But, in this film, he delivers brutal honesty and even more so, a statutory date rapist wit that meets unprecedented heights--especially in the instant classic, largely improvised scene regarding where, why, when and how hard he cums.
Jonah Hill, one of the heroes of the echo-boomer generation and personal favorite comics, plays off public perceptions of his sweetness, empathy and what some may call his homosexual tendencies to deliver an Earth-shattering, Shawn Kemp-like dunk. He wears an earring on his left ear, bromances Jay Beruchel with a bromosexuality that would may even Judd Apabrow envious and describes almost everything that could be labeled "sick", "cool", "awesome" or "hedi" as either "tight" or "sooo tight". Craig Robinson also delivers some big boy laughs. Seth Rogen's comedic muscles are flexed more in the screenwriting than in his performance but he's definitely lol worthy, on occasion. Jay Beruchel doesn't like Forrest Gump, fuck him. But he plays the part of a nerdy, hipster well, I'm guessing from personal experience. And the result is a rendition of the apocalypse that I have faith will never be presented with more hilarity.
Rotten critics have dubbed the film "narcissistic" but the self-deprecating humor and irony pervading the film, especially in Jonah Hill's performance, leads me to assert that these actors are not falling into lakes staring at their own reflections. Rather, they're laughing at themselves all the way to the biznank and legends table. The only reason I didn't given this film five stars is that I could've use more cowbell. And by that I mean, a little more of Danny McBride and Michael Cera and less special effects-driven, acopa-drama. Despite needing a little more cowbell, This is the End is remarkably innovative, unique and most importantly, funny. And hopefully, it's the beginning of an era in mainstream comedic cinema that emphasizes brash tactics, originality and 90's nostalgia over political correctness, fart jokes and the "script by numbers" formula that assumes movie goers suffer from amnesia, mild MR and chronically underdeveloped senses of humor.