Stunt Granny Movie Review: This Is the End

This-Is-The-End-Poster

“This is The End” sure looked pretty bad from the Approved for All Audiences trailer when it was released at the beginning of the year. Ok so it was groan inducing. “Hey look, it is the youngish gen-y kids you know form movies you really liked and some you hated. They all made a movie together but the trick is that the stars are playing….wait for it…..themselves. How cute.” Sure seemed like it was going to be chockfull of in jokes and a lot of smug self-referencing.

Well, the movie does have a lot of self-referencing jokes and they are actually really funny. Maybe having low expectations worked for the better. But of course I blame all of this on the trailer. The jump cuts of their inventory followed by the unfunny discussion about eating a Milky Way bar taints the movies appeal. In the context of the movie it works but as a selling point for the movie it is a poor representation of the humor. The humor is just as biting and quick as “Superbad” and “Knocked Up” while the action calls back to “Pineapple Express”.

You can expect the standard fare of pot jokes, dick jokes, masturbation jokes, some callbacks to their other collaborations and previous films and a lot of laughs. There is also a concerted effort on some of the cameo appearances to break character type and it also some good laughs. If you haven’t gotten the point yet the movie is really funny.

At first I was wondering why they just didn’t play actual characters instead of playing it as themselves.  But then it becomes clear each star of course is not playing themself. They are all playing a variation on their most famous character type. Seth Rogen is the awkward pothead of “Knocked Up” or really any other movie he has been in. Jay Baruchel, the most unheralded of the group, is his condescending and self-righteous self from “She’s Out of MyLeague”. James Franco gets to have the most fun playing a nebulous creation of his perceived sarcastic side that is an internet whipping post and a little bit of Harry Osborne. Jonah Hill seems to be channeling his inner “Moneyball” as he comes across as the exact opposite of any other character he has ever played. Danny McBride smartly plays who is essentially Kenny Powers from “Eastbound and Down”.

This leads to creatively the biggest difference in the movie. While it has its share of funny lines and gags the laughs do not really kick in until the arrival of Danny McBride. As a huge fan of anything Danny McBride, including “Hotrod”, his introduction is perfect. I heard his introduction described as a “pimp moment” and that description is absolutely correct. Adding McBride to the solitary cast added conflict and eventually some attitude to the other characters. He is essential and really McBride hasn’t done anything wrong other than Your Highness, which is even mentioned and appropriately goofed on in the movie.

After this all sets in the laughs really start. Stealing a page from Shahid, a quick rundown of the plot:

Jay visits Seth in LA and they go to James Franco’s house for a house-warming party. Well Jay doesn’t like LA so he grabs Seth and they walk to the store for smokes. While there the entire world comes to an end. Yes the apocalypse has hit LA. As you know from the trailer everyone is confined to the Franco abode as they try and figure out how to survive and figure out what just happened.

Is it all absurd? Of course it is but isn’t that what made “Pineapple Express” and “Superbad” pretty damn good? It is also going to be considered blasphemous by any Christian. There are comedic representations of demonic possession, exorcisms, Lucifer/Satan, and depending on your Christian swing the trivialization of core beliefs. Yes the end of the world in this case is the actual Biblical apocalypse from the Book of Revelation.

The flick also darts off in different directions to make fun of horror and apocalyptic genre movies but never loses site of the core comedic elements. Even at the end of the world with Lucifer  roaming the land with junk a flying and cannibals roaming the streets the movie never stops bringing the funny.

For a movie that received a good deal of groans from the preview it won me over. It is worth the ticket price and in today’s inflated ticket prices I wouldn’t lead you astray.  So hit the local gogoloplex, sneak in your food and drink and silence your god damn cell phones (really how do you not remember by now?) and watch this flick or wait for blue-ray. Whatever, I don’t know your financial situation. Just don’t watch it on DVD. I mean come on you aren’t that poor.  -Jeremy

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