For a film that took years in the making to have all schedules open and synced, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny Mcbride and Craig Robinson team up to film their version of the apocalypse. And it was worth the wait.
This is the End features the directorial début of longtime besties and collaborators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad and Pineapple Express writing partner) who deliver non-stop comedic romps and punchlines from page to screen with no limitations of raunchiness. The film is an extension of the 2007 short “Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse,” but this disaster flick’s edge relies solely on what we love these guys for—comedic chemistry and improvisation.
“We really spend a lot of time on the script, and especially the structure, because that we know we can’t improvise. The movie has to flow. But as far as dialogue goes, it’s all up for grabs. And even the point of the scene sometimes, honestly, sometimes the actors go, ‘This scene just kinda feels weird in general, and you’ll literally change the trajectory of the whole scene.” Seth Rogen via Huffington Post
“Like the scene where they’re doing inventory with the Milky Way, we just said, ‘Hey, Franco, throw the gun to Jonah,’ and that’s how that scene happened. The whole rest of that scene, and then him and Franco’s exchange, we didn’t write any of that.” Evan Goldberg via. Huffington Post
The cast of characters all play an alternate, self-deprecating version of themselves with a few traits comparable to their real life personas; although I don’t think Danny McBride is a cannibal nor Michael Cera a sex-crazed coke fiend. The film reunites longtime Canadian pals Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel in Los Angeles, where Jay drops in to visit Seth for a weekend of video gaming and weed smoking. While Seth’s celebrity status over the past few years has sky-rocketed outside of Jay’s moderate success, Jay makes it clear that he’s uncomfortable adapting to the superficial Hollywood scene. When Seth invites Jay to a party hosted by James Franco, Jay apprehensively agrees to join Seth with his fellow comedic Brat Pack.
After a few bouts of socializing at the party (Craig Robinson defining Jay as a hipster because he “complains a lot and his pants are awfully tight at the bottom” is hilarious), Jay decides to bow out of the party to grab some cigarettes with Seth at a nearby convenience store. This is when the Rapture begins, and strange beams start sucking people into the sky and mass chaos erupts in the streets. The quest for survival and the greatest test of friendship ensues as James Franco’s bachelor pad becomes the ultimate fortress after the fatalities of celebrities in the hellish sink hole in Franco’s front yard (read: Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari all meet their demise quickly, so don’t get too attached to them).
The apocalypse survivors include: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny Mcbride and Craig Robinson. Friendships are tested when anxiety levels heighten as the food/water supply diminishes, and rabid creatures are discovered roaming the streets. The hilarity ensues, and it never stops.
The dirty humor and the natural candor between these guys has never ceased to impress me–Pineapple Express, Superbad and Knocked Up all reign as 21st century comedy classics; if you couldn’t tolerate the humor in those films, than you might as well skip this one. But if you ask me, these guys are damn funny, and this may be their best work together yet. Their humor doesn’t digest well with everyone, which always amazes me that people don’t know what they’re getting into with the names Rogen, Hill and Franco attached to a project. Jeff Beck at Examiner didn’t quite appreciate the raunchy exchanges:
“As I mentioned, they are obviously quite desperate to make it as funny as they possibly can what with an attempted joke seemingly taking place every few seconds, but unfortunately the level of humor they chose to pursue is so lowbrow that the jokes become more cringe-worthy than funny. Case in point: a stretched-out argument between Franco and Danny McBride regarding masturbation will merely have you squirming in your seat and questioning why they would think that anyone would find it funny.”
Maybe I have an immature boyish mentality, but I wasn’t squirming in my seat…I was laughing uncontrollably. That’s the kind of humor you can expect between these guys, and don’t expect anything less!!
Aside from the raunchy phallic jokes and overtly dramatic violence, This is the End offers a vision of morality and friendship that translates as a sincere message as opposed to a cheesy horror spoof. It’s a feat that only these comedic bros can get away with. It seems these guys have proven themselves worthy of filling the seats of 21st century throne of the kings of comedy.
*The film is also the acting (or looking pretty in the background) début of myself and friend Norma; I thought it’d be a genius idea to be extras at James Franco’s party, but the grueling hours and draining New Orleans heat only kept us one out of four shooting days (whoops! sorry y’all!), but we managed to capture four seconds of screen time fame. The scene required us to dress as “hipsters,” which we apparently didn’t quite grasp, because they re-dressed us immediately. The Seth Rogen laugh is as adorable as everyone says it is, Jay Baruchel is much taller than I suspected (and extremely precious), James Franco was the least friendliest (but overall everyone was very gracious and down to Earth) and the amount of freedom they have with the dialogue is incredible–they are improv geniuses!