For the longest time, I kept calling this movie "Is This the End?" Probably because I couldn't get that New Edition song out my head (if you don't know, you better ask somebody). Also because I was partly distracted by the plethora of my favorite people that were in this one. And that part scared me. Because we all know when Hollywood puts TOO many good folks in one movie then they tend to screw it up. However, even though I knew that going in, I was still on board.
The story of "This is the End" is it follows six friends who are all known comedic actors. They become trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. So yep...once again another apocalyptic flick. This time, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride fight cabin fever in James Franco's house while the world outside unravels. Their only hope is to leave the house to face whatever it is that's causing all the devastation, but more importantly to save what's left of their friendships.
What immediately caught my attention on this one was that everyone in the movie is playing themselves. They are essentially making fun of their own Hollywood personalities as we get to see a facetious example of how they would deal with an apocalyptic calamity. Yes, they are just regular people like all of us, but their problems are automatically funnier because of the great comedic timing that they all have.
I fully expected this to be some type of alien invasion type flick based on the trailers I watched. It never dawned on me that they were going for something much more basic. It was the rapture. Complete with a scene of folks being raptured. So the fact that all these Hollywood folks are left behind was funny in and of itself. Knowing the movies that all of them have done, you would fully expect that they wouldn't be heading upwards when judment time came. Okay...that may have been a bit judgmental on my part as well, but if any of you have seen their flicks, you can't tell me that's not at least an accurate train of thought.
The best part about them playing themselves was seeing them doing exaggerated versions. Especially Michael Cera in his brief part. Now I have no idea if what we see here is the real off screen Cera or not. I'm hoping not. It's completely contrary to every character he's ever played. Which made it even more hilarious. Even moreso that all his friends were used to it and took his actions in stride.
As I mentioned, I was worried that the concept of too many cooks spoiling the stew would doom yet another movie. That was definitely not the case here. These guys all played extremely well off one another. There was scene after scene that produced one laugh after another. The highlight of them all being McBride and Franco arguing over Franco's magazine. This may be one of those films I would have to see again just to see what I missed from laughing so hard.
"This is the End" does an excellent job of hanging with other better known summer blockbusters. Certainly unexpected for a comedy but not given the caliber of talent involved. Naturally, you have to ignore the fact that the final sequence implies deviant behavior would actually be taking place in Heaven. Then you quickly remember a comedy and who's in it so it all works. Oh..and it doesn't hurt that there's a little message about friendship in there also. You might pick up on it in between all the laughing.
My rating: A-