|Courtesy of Columbia Pictures|
THIS IS THE END
2013, 107 minutes
Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
Review by Joshua Handler
This is the End may be the most surprisingly good movie of 2013. This is the End is insane, completely surreal, and honestly funny. This is raunch done right. Having seen so much garbage recently that thought it could fly by by saying a certain four-letter word and throwing in a sex term here and there, it is refreshing to see a comedy that knows how to use it right. R-rated comedies nowadays try to be racy and raunchy, but hold back too much. They never really let go, and this one does. While this movie is nonstop raunch, though, it is delivered so well and is so unrestrained that it is hard not to laugh.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote and directed this comedy and it follows what happens when a group of comedians (playing alter-egos and using their real names) go to James Franco's house for a housewarming party and the apocalypse hits.
This is the End reminded me a lot of Drew Goddard's brilliant 2012 horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods because like Cabin, This is the End goes so far over the top gets so bizarre in the last 20 minutes that it is hard not to have fun. That being said, there are many that are going to find these last 20 minutes that I loved completely off-putting. Others will be turned off by its crude content, as this movie really earns its R rating. Few have gone as far as this.
All of the actors are completely game for anything and everything. They perform scenes that would make most actors run, and it is this willingness to do anything and the energy with which they perform that make the movie as funny as it is. Everyone looks as if they're having the time of their life. The easy chemistry between the actors benefits the film greatly. The abundance of unexpected cameos is also really amusing.
While not every joke works (many of them fall flat), there are quite a few that really work and so much energy is contained in the film that it is easy to overlook any bad jokes. This is lowbrow comedy to be sure, but lowbrow comedy done right.
The visual effects for This is the End are surprisingly great. They are not cheesy, as they could have been, and it actually looks like people put time into making them look fantastic. There is a really interesting world of post-apocalyptic LA built by Rogen and Goldberg, and the visual effects help complete this world.
Finally, the reasoning for the apocalypse is extremely unexpected. I obviously will not tell you what it is, but it is something substantially funnier and smarter than one might expect from a comedy like this.
Overall, This is the End is the funniest movie of the year thus far and is sure to be a massive hit. It manages to mix lowbrow humor with smart filmmaking to make something completely unique. Seth Rogen continues to surprise with each project, proving that he has what it takes to not only act in a comedy, but to write and direct one. Hats off to Rogen and Goldberg for making this movie something special.