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This Is The End

by Leonard Maltin
June 13, 2013 4:22 PM
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Photo by Suzanne Hanover, SMPSP - © 2012 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
This movie is a self-indulgent exercise built on a one-joke premise…but it made me laugh from start to finish. Writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg take their ideas so far beyond the norms of propriety, so ridiculously past the point of commonplace movie raunchiness, that you have only two choices: walk out or surrender to them. Although my tolerance for gross-out humor is normally low, I found this movie’s take-no-prisoners attitude oddly disarming.

Much of this has to do with the likability of the stars, who play fictionalized, in some cases wildly exaggerated, versions of themselves. The conceit of Seth Rogen as Seth Rogen, James Franco as James Franco, et al, immediately establishes the tone of the movie—a giant inside joke where nothing is meant to be taken too seriously. When a party at Franco’s ultra-modern house in the Hollywood Hills takes a terrible turn it’s not just the outrageousness of the story point—an apocalyptic incident that may spell the end of humanity—but the way the characters respond to it that makes it funny.

Every time you think they’ve stretched this as far as they can go, Rogen and Goldberg go farther. Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and even Emma Watson (!) hold nothing back, along with a gaggle of other stars in often-fleeting appearances.

This is the End manages to make fun of egotism and self-absorption, Hollywood high life, false friendships, greed, religious beliefs, and more. It won’t be everybody’s cup of tea; I didn’t think it would appeal to me, in fact, but I bought into it hook, line and sinker.  

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  • Jay | October 2, 2013 4:03 PMReply

    self-indulgent load of crap. They should have taken their own advice and worked on Pineapple Express 2, but the fact that they didn't shows just how limited they are.

    Loved the od school bro-mance, but this is just sad. Pyrotechniques and all

  • Steve Johnson | June 16, 2013 3:08 PMReply

    Being in the exhibition end of the movie industry, I am compelled to watch literally hundreds of movies a year, many of which I thankfully forget over the course of a couple of days. However once in a while you stumble across an unexpected gem and that makes everything worthwhile. I watched this offering the other night and far from finding it akin to a fast food hamburger, I would equate it to a multi course banquet where as soon as you've finished one entree, another even more delicious and unexpected one is served to you. This movie is as funny as anything I've seen in several years and it's lampooning of it's own stars, their lifestyles, their lavish parties, their outrageous behavior, their sometimes shallow friendships and the overall hypocrisy of Hollywood is as delicious and satiating as a film can be. I loved it immensely, enjoyed myself thoroughly and will be among the first to but the Bluray when it's released. This is a must have in any serious film buff's collection.

  • Daniel Delago | June 14, 2013 8:15 PMReply

    I saw it last night and I thought it was pure garbage. Did it make me chuckle? Certainly but it reminded me of eating a fastfood hamburger. It tastes okay on the way down but an hour later, you regret your decision. And you're absolutely correct, Mr. Maltin, you either like these toilet bowel (Judd Apatow) style movies or you dislike them. The scary thing is that this 'art imitating life' movie is probably close to the truth.

  • JM | June 20, 2013 6:49 PM

    I'm curious what comedy you've watched the last few years that you didn't think was a "toilet bowl style movie"? If you thought this and Judd Apatow films are the dregs, you must hate the state of comedy in cinema.

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