Film Review: THIS IS THE END

Written and Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan
Starring: Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson

I have been trying to remember if there’s another movie where all the actors play themselves. I can’t think of one and normally I wouldn’t imagine it to be a good idea. It leaves the door open to charges of narcissism and self-adulation among other things. But it was a good conceit for this film, which shows the effects of the apocalypse on one of the communities most likely to suffer banishment to hell: Hollywood.

Things begin with a party, and for a long time our revelers, high on various substances, don’t even notice that things are literally going to hell outside. Only a trip to a grocery store brings Rogen and Baruchel up to speed. Returning to Franco’s house, the six who remain standing, take a long time to figure out how to save themselves. They are short on food, water, and the good deeds needed to avoid a quick trip to hell. Each of them has both good and selfish moments over the next hour.

There are a lot of humorous routines and some good quiet moments too. And the movie does have an agenda. If there is a rapture or a heaven in the offing, you only have so many ways to rise into the blue light.

And yet, you have to wonder when this group of actors, who came out of television shows like Freaks and Geeks, and movies made by Judd Apatow are going to move beyond these rather juvenile roles—this whole notion of bromances. Don’t men ever grow up in Hollywood?
The generation of actors that came before this one seemed to move into more mature parts by this age. Think of Steve Martin, as a good example. He only made THE JERK once. Perhaps writers aren’t writing more mature comic parts. Perhaps the writers are locked in this Peter Pan world too.

And there is something weird in how all of the men see women as the “other.” Emma Watson has a few scenes and their joint inability to perceive her as a real person is sort of disturbing.

However, this film doesn’t deserve to stand in for the many much lesser films that sully our summer landscape. It is certainly far superior to ones starring Adam Sandler or Kevin James. So go enjoy.

 

Patti Abbott