A Cavalcade of Comedy and Comedy Stars

This is the End

                What would happen if six stars of stoner comedy films came together and were forced to face the end of the world?  I didn’t know either until I saw This is the End (TITE), a film written by one of these stars Seth Rogen, uniting his buddies from his various films to make what can only be an interesting adventure.  Well interesting is exactly what you get with this tale and I’m here to shed some light on the latest comedy to grace the screen.

When I saw the poser and trailers for this movie there were two ways I could see this movie going:  funny and full of insane, and wacky adventure, or another drug filled comedy where all they do is go from point A to point B and get stoned/drunk upon their arrival.  TITE however, decided to mash these two path together to make a hybrid that surprisingly entertained me, though that didn’t seem the case at first.  Stoner comedy fans will rejoice at the beginning, watching Seth and Jay Baruchel getting hopped up on so much weed you’ll wonder how their brains take it.  Then head into the party scene where not only do we get to see the cavalcade come together, but other stars make a cameo to show off what may be a reflection of their lives off camera.  It’s crude, it’s cursing filled, and has so many awkward/inappropriate/over the top lines that will have the audience either cringing or laughing their heads off, the former option more for me.  Once the cataclysm event occurs, as seen mostly in the trailer, the drugs and booze or shifted down a notch and a new “balance” is reached that started to put this movie in better graces with me.  So what did I like and dislike then.

Let’s start with the balance of comedy TITE has.  Rogen and company bring all of their styles to the table on this one, with each one playing the characters you know and love.  The diversity starts with more drug comedy, that makes our “heroes” do some crazy and embarrassing situations that had most of the audience cracking up.  Yet before this can grow stale, the movie transitions into curse filled talks about sex and all of its related bodily functions, sometimes leading to overexggarated arguments of two stars shamefully arguing about where they left their mark.  For me however, the most laughs came from the parodies and quotes of various movies that are cleverly integrated into the dialog and plot to give the movie some pizazz.  Rogen’s pokes, or is it jabs at Hollywood productions also had me in stitches, and combined with some well-timed and clever quips there were plenty of laughs to go around that brought tears to my eyes from laughing so hard.

Of course with a collection of stars this big playing “themselves” you would think there would be some good laughs just from the characters themselves.   Yes there were some characters I enjoyed, but for the most part the characters you see are those you’ve seen over and over again.  Seth Rogen still plays that funny looking, and rather plain role that indulges in just about everything he can.  James Franco, despite his diverse collection of roles, chose to go back to pineapple express mode and play the selfish jerk causing all the trouble, though he is slightly more in his mind.  Jonah Hill plays that very soft toned, strange, and high pitched nerd who trades his attempts to be cool with his attempts to be peaceful, I think.  My favorite of the bunch goes to Craig Robinson whose neutral tone, girlish screams, and well delivered quips had me rooting for the solo black actor.  Of all the actors, his role had the most diversity for me, playing all the fields without going too far into one area, and without overacting.  My least favorite character though had to be Danny McBride though.  I’ve enjoyed some of his movies in the past, but I’m over his filthy dialog, arrogant rants, and perverted mannerisms that make him the wild dude that many like.  His character is definitely the most annoying of the bunch and adds that black sheep/ doesn’t give a damn edge that the movie needed, but could have toned down a little more.  Regardless you like the guys in other movies, you are going to like them in this one.

Despite all of these things though there were still some over the line moments that I didn’t care for in this movie.  Although this is supposed to be a comedic take on the apocalypse, there are some things that didn’t need to be shown. Seeing the guys play soccer with a decapitated head and seeing cannibalism at its “finest” are just two areas I’m not comfortable with watching.  I also don’t enjoy the concept of butt, or for that matter, regular raping as well.  Sure the awkward reactions of the guys is fun to watch, but the concept penetrating someone in that way is not my cup of tea, and I’m glad we didn’t see the actual act like we have in other movies.  Yet the biggest thing at bugged me has to be the visible shots of the devil’s penis.  Just like in the game Dante’s Inferno, the fallen angel of darkness apparently likes to show off his swagger to the public in both erected and non-erected forms.  Sorry I don’t find seeing the male anatomy in all its lava orange/ brimstone gray glory, but that is something I think best left for the adult only films.

Factoring in everything though, TITE isn’t a half bad comedy and was a fun idea to watch on a concept vaguely touched in the comedy world.  I think the actors worked well together, the comedy stays rather fresh and appropriate, and although not the most surprising plot has a few things that may shock and surprise you.  Overall Rogen did a good job making fun of a holy topic in a way that won’t get him smite, but for those who are a bit more sensitive on this topic avoid the film.  Those who also don’t want to see awkward shots of male anatomy, arguing of who gets to get high, or just don’t like Danny McBride are also encouraged to skip this flick.  My scores are:

Comedy: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5-7.0


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