I love a good genre buster. What’s a genre buster you might ask? A genre buster is a film that combines two different genres into one film. Movies such as Ghostbusters, Hudson Hawk and Zombieland are all perfect examples of what makes up a genre buster. So when I heard the guys from Pineapple Express (Franco, Rogen, and McBride) were teaming up to take on the apocalypse in This Is The End, I couldn’t have been more excited.
This Is The End has all your favorite stars from the ACC (Apatow Comedy Clique) playing heightened versions of themselves partying down at James Franco’s new mansion in Hollywood. Many familiar celebrities are in attendance including an out of control party monster Michael Cera and pop star Rihanna. Everyone is enjoying the party except for poor Jay Baruchel who doesn’t feel he hit fits into the Hollywood lifestyle and just wants to reconnect with his old friend Seth Rogen. Unfortunately for Jay things get worse when the Biblical apocalypse decides to break out and he becomes trapped in Franco’s house with Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and his buddy Seth Rogen.
What’s great about This Is The End is it takes the apocalypse as a serious event that creates a ton of great laughs. The celebs may be rich and famous, but they are way too soft and aren’t equipped with the tools or the know how to survive. After the first 15 minute cameo filled party sequence, there could have been concern that This Is The End may have exhausted all their laughs before the end comes. That’s not the case. This Is The End‘s direction takes on a scary and violent turn where the tension, fear of death and isolation creates hilarious moments with the self-absorbed celebrities. You know this group of comedy actors can make you laugh, but the fact that co-directors Rogen and Evan Goldberg give the audience surprisingly well done special effects and action sequences takes This Is The End to the next level. The tense moments in This Is The End induce coughing fits of laughter throughout.
The special effects, action and story may be well done, but the actors buying into their satirical versions of themselves is what makes This Is The End one of the funniest and wild rides of the year. All the actors take criticisms of themselves whether its Rogen always playing the same guy in every movie, Franco’s weirdness or Hill’s turn to the dramatic side and play the knocks for laughs. Even all the actors and actresses that make cameos garner laughs even if it’s only one line or scene. Everybody buys in no matter how big or small their role is. The one standout in the film would be Danny McBride. His over the top, brash persona takes over every time he is involved in a scene whether it’s wasting food, discussions of masturbation or his fellow cast mates acting prowess. McBride’s role definitely generates some of the big laughs of This Is The End and steals the show.
Genre busters don’t always play out well (See Your Highness), but This Is The End is a gift from genre busters heaven. The mix of laughs, scares, satire and action make it one the most enjoyable and smartest films of the year. I was a big fan of the Funny or Die short film Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse which This Is The End is based on. So I was happy to see that Rogen and Baruchel’s friendship was still the heart of This Is The End. The film is an ensemble but If there was a main character, I would say it was Baruchel who is thrown into the mix as the forgotten star of this comedy troupe. He’s the straight man and conscience of the rollercoaster ride that is This Is The End. Hopefully Rogen has given his old friend a vehicle that will finally give him the stardom he so deserves. Overall, I give This Is The End 3 1/2 out of 4 totally biased Potatoes.
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