“I’d be pretty bummed if I didn’t at least get a bite of the Milky Way”
This is the End is the biggest Hollywood summer comedy this year that not only holds your attention until the very end but is also full of laughs and re-watchable value. If I was going to be hyper critical of the star-studded apocalyptic romp I would say it didn’t use its strength to their maximum potential as well as feeling a little rushed towards the end (almost, but not entirely falling into the comedy film curse of a serious last quarter that has ruined a lot of potentially great features in modern cinema when a comedy film decides to take itself, and its characters far too seriously in the closing stages). It’s certainly a film that has ambition from the start and that ambition is matched by a great cast as well as laugh-out-loud moments throughout.
Before Seth Rogen and co. end up holding out in James Franco’s newly built mansion on the wrong side of the end of the world the viewers are treated to famous cameos left, right and centre, most notably Michael Cera’s crazy over-the-top impersonation of himself makes the opening to This is the End hilarious as well as foreshadowing the themes of what kind of apocalypse this is.
Far from the average zombie or natural apocalypse film, This is the End decides to take a route not really explored in these disaster films it parodies when it makes the whole ordeal religious and ‘The End’ literal means Judgement Day. This opens the doors for more supernatural and ridiculous elements to come into play.
Everyone will have their favourite characters from the feature but mine will have to be Jonah Hill who plays a over-the-top ‘Hollywood Sweetheart’ version of himself who appears to love everyone… Before showing his true colours and one of the 7 deadly sins by asking God to kill Jay Baruchel, Seth’s childhood friend. This ends with Jonah being raped by a devil spawn in his sleep and becoming possessed by the Devil himself. As you’d expect from a hero of modern comedy films his timing is excellent and his character is well developed and interesting throughout to keep you wondering how ‘true’ he is to be this Mr. Nice-Guy to everyone all the time.
Cameos from the likes of Emma Watson and Channing Tatum are well received and make the idea of the film being set in Hollywood Boulevard far more realistic than having some average Joe turn up. I like the way the film is set up to include these characters from films where actors featured have met before, e.g. Franco and Rogen in Pineapple Express and Freaks and Geeks which allows Jason Segel to appear at the Franco house too.
The ending, which was arguably the weakest part of the film where all the characters try to escape to ‘heaven’ by realizing their wrong-doings was incredibly cheesey, but then again there’s only two ways you can really end a film of this sort. The James Franco twist was a good turn of events in a sequence that otherwise let the rest of the film down. Then there was the question of how do you really end the end to a film like this… There isn’t a way, other than maybe a zoom out of Seth and Jay laughing on cloud. So, in maybe one of the most bizarre last 4-minutes of a film you will see this year we get The Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’ performed by the lads themselves… a bit of a cop-out some might say… a stroke of genius others might say. I say it treads a very thin line but for a film like this, it can get away with it.
All the survivors work well together playing their roles with dedication and making it hard not to believe their real selves aren’t like this in the same way it’s almost impossible now to take the Partridge out of Coogan and separate his infamous comedy character from himself, something explored in The Trip by BBC.
Could This is the End be the best comedy of the year? Simply put, no. It could possibly be the best American/Hollywood comedy, in the same way Ted was last year but for me, I think this year is going to be big for the British Comedies with both The End of the World (The final installment of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s ‘Cornetto Trilogy) and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa coming out this summer. Two films that have been on the cards for so long are finally landing and I hope I don’t end up eating my words.