After making a comedy short, Seth Rogen co-directs this Stoner Comedy ‘THIS IS THE END‘, about comedic actors (along with a brief cameo from Rihanna) playing fictionalised versions of themselves, and get stuck at James Franco’s house during the Apocalypse (without the Cats & Dogs).
Before I begin, yes I understand this is a Stoner Comedy, and it shouldn’t be seen in too much of a critical light. But with a level of expectation generated by its marketing and cast, I was expecting something more like ‘take-piss-out-of-Hollywood-and-ourselves’ (that being the actors), type mould. The thing is to make a good Stoner Comedy, you have to act on a level which can be watched (with laughter) both for audiences not under and under the influence. But unfortunately ‘THIS IS THE END’ doesn’t function too well on either side.
Now don’t get me wrong I chuckled at a few things (Michael Cera stands out here being a coke addicted and having the in joke about his public affairs of being hard to work with), but the thing is there is no consistent tone. The comedy at times just feels far too random, and just seem to be placed together for a film of this time. I could imagine that those who smoke Pot will probably get a headache from it all (yes even if you’ve ”mellowed” out so to speak). The humour of the film see’s the same premature wank joke get used every 10 minutes and it’s not contexted as a running joke. The whole thing feels like Rogen and his writers have ”Oh This Sounds Funny” and wrote it on a bit of paper and just stuck the film together around these ”Cool, Funny, Ideas” as he probably would remark. And by doing this it makes the film have this disjointed tone of Hollywood satire (the film opening scene has a rather smart gag from a camera man asking Rogen ”Why do you play the same character in each film you?”) to a jacking off joke. Dropping the idea they are playing the fictionalised versions of themselves and playing different characters might have helped here with sorting this tone issue out for audiences. Also note other then Jonah Hill’s gay makeover, James Franco (who in fairness is on ‘top form’), Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride characters are just the same with their personality and character traits – it’s like as if the writing team have run out of ”Cool, Funny, Idea!” to write anything individually different for each character. Oh and Emma Watson – she’s more an extended cameo.
In conclusion, there were 17 year old girl’s who found it amusing, and again little stuff I did laugh at, including the ”Sweeded” ‘Pineapple Express 2′ trailer. But this is the thing – if they put the effort into it they could have made this instead of a film which includes almost exclusive references to fellow Sony Pictures films. To quote @nealetweets (he’s like Mark Cousin’s but better) – ”’This Is The End’ Left Me Disappointed, Bored And Desiring Something Closer To The Surggested ‘Pineapple Express’ Sequal”.