dir: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
This Is the End is a movie so bad that it made me wish the world itself was actually coming to an end.
It's one of the laziest pieces of shit I've seen this year. It's so terrible that all it made me think of was that someone had done a mash-up of two of Kevin Smith's worst movies, being Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It has almost the exact kind of aura of amateurish yet charmless goofiness, and seems to have arisen from the same kind of source, being dope. Specifically, it's the false sense of brilliance and hilarity that smoking dope brings many people when they think they've thought up something tremendous, but don't realise once they've straightened out that what they came up with was utter crap.
I have found many of the people in this flick funny in other flicks. Almost nothing in this flick made me laugh. Much of it made me groan in unamused disgust and growling boredom. Most of it smacked of actors thinking they're so gifted that they don't need to actually be saying or doing anything funny in order to be funny. We'll just find them funny because they're funny, and everything they do is gold.
There's also this unearned smarminess, which they think they can parody by pretending they're 'worse' than they actually are in real life in order to convince us, the scum in the audience, that they don't take themselves or each other too seriously. See, they're gifting us as well, by showing how they don't take their status too seriously, their wealth or their relative distance from the concerns of the common folk, by telling us how they realise how it looks, but that's not what they're really like, okay, man? Okay buddy? We're just like you, we've just been luckier, and we're not at all arrogant about it. See, if we parody that we're gigantic depraved babies and arrogant venal arseholes, then you'll know we're not really like that.
And in case they fear that we get the impression they're just making this shit up as they go along, they show us what a shambolic and amateurish production would have looked like if they were really dicking around: Franco, Rogen and Danny McBride (ugh, more about this abomination of a wretch later) say how nice it would be if they could make a sequel to Pineapple Express, a film which mirrors this in pointlessness and humour deficiency. They pick up and make a really shabby version of such a movie, on a home movie camera.
The joke was lost on me, because though the production values are higher, the shittiness of the performances and ideas is perfectly aligned. Neither the 'real' flick nor the 'pretend' flick within the flick looked any better than the other.
If you haven't gathered from the title of this smorgasbord of scatological unnecessariness, This Is The End is a terrible film where the Rapture happens, the apocalypse is closer than nigh, and we have to spend the last moments of this awful civilisation's existence with the people you would like least to spend time with at the very end. If only this was The End. If only Hollywood and surrounds were cast into the firey pits of hell, the lowest levels of the Inferno, and it wasn’t in a comedy, but in a documentary instead.
If it happened for real, at least we'd never need to see a flick like this again. ‘Friends’ Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen meet up at the airport, for a weekend of dope, booze and video games. They are playing "themselves". Everyone's playing "themselves", which means they call out to each other by their actual names. Why this would make a difference to someone like Seth Rogen, or how we perceive him, is mysterious to me, mostly because we haven't seen much evidence that he's ever played a character in a movie any different from what he's like in "real" life.
He couldn't pretend to be someone other than Seth Rogen under a different name any more so than he could be a neurosurgeon or the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The essential conflict in the flick is not between the forces of heaven and Hell’s Grim Tyrant, it’s between Jay and Seth. Jay is a whiny, needy bitch, and Seth is Seth Rogen, a guy who’s never met a sentence of dialogue he couldn’t improve with mumbled pronunciation and oh so many swears.
I have no problem with swearing, in fact, I quite love swearing, in any language. The problem is that here almost all the dialogue seems improvised, and, as such, most of the words these wits and raconteurs can think of is minute variations on the kinds of stuff my daughter in Grade 1 says to kids in Prep in her attempt to get them to laugh.
She’s great at it, but I don’t think she knows that there’s a limit to how many times you can say ‘poo’ before it loses its incredible power. Rogen et al have never reached that point of realisation either.
Jay resents the fact that Seth has Hollywood friends. The fact that he wants to go to a party at James Franco’s house seems like a slight against Jay, so Jay sulks so much that it triggers the Apocalypse itself. Before we get to that stage, we endure, or at least I endured, unfunny fake-candid moments with ‘celebrities’ playing themselves. Oh look, there’s Michael Cera ‘pretending’ to be a complete douchebag, which obviously he isn’t in real life, but is it any different from the drugged-up sex-mad characters he’s played already in a few films? Rihanna stands around looking. Aziz Ansari sits around wondering what he’s doing in the movie, since he doesn’t even know any of these shitheads.
And then Jay triggers the Apocalypse. After that Jay, Seth, Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill bunker down in Franco’s house, waiting for something funny to happen or for something to come along and kill them, please God, kill them.
Other stuff happens; random stupidity and niggling tiresomeness, a few movie references, like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, a lot of people screaming at each other, and almost nothing that even amused me slightly.
As if the flick wasn’t bad enough, they bring in Danny McBride, a guy I loathe so fucking much that even when he’s pretending to be a complete and utter scumbag I can’t separate him from all the other loathsome scumbags he’s played in every goddamn thing he’s been in. His every moment of screen time is nails-down-the-blackboard agony to me, except instead of the blackboard, the surface being gouged noisily, painfully is my eyes and ears.
It’s facile, amateurish, bleary, crappy, profoundly immature, empty, painful, unfunny, unnecessary, agonisingly ugly and horrible, horrible, horrible.
Yes, I do own a thesaurus, thanks for asking. No, I haven’t got it handy, much to my infinite chagrin.
The movie’s pathetic attempts to actually give such a piece of shit meaning and depth are more insulting that their complete absence would have been, since none of that is even vaguely believable. And the stuff it says about the nature of celebrity and friendship or even morality and such is thoroughly, thoroughly brainless.
The second to final insult is that I so desperately wanted all the awful characters to die horrible deaths, and most of them didn’t. The final insult is an ending so insulting, a version of heaven where many of these awful people get to party for all eternity to the gentle strains of the goddamn Backstreet Boys, an idea so wretched that I wished, prayed for, and begged the gods to actually trigger the End of Days so I wouldn’t have to think about this flick ever, ever, ever again.
Great, so now I’ve written a review of it, so I’ll be reminded every time I go online. That’s my punishment, but not my redemption, and thus is all of mankind doomed. It also bugs me tremendously that because of title confusion, so many people would have skipped going to see Edgar Wright’s The World’s End just because they thought, or perhaps grunted to each other in Cro-Magnon grunts, “uh, already seen it”.
Hated it, hated it, hated it. Have I made it abundantly clear? Did I gild the lily a bit? Maybe I need to scream it out in all caps how much I loathed this piece of shit.
I’m done. It’s almost enough to make me give up on cinema forever.
2 laughs I had during this abomination’s endless hours out of 10
“We're actors! We bring joy to people's lives!
- “Yeah but we don't do it for free. We get paid handsomely much higher than the average professional” - and you’re worth every penny, as long as they were paying you in pennies – This Is The End