Viau’s View/Scott Viau
Extremely profane language, graphic violence and jokes involving a variety of bodily functions are just a few of the things you’ll find in the comedy “This is the End.” But what you’ll also get is nearly nonstop laughs and a surprisingly sweet and heartfelt story about friendship.
Seth Rogen (everyone in the film plays him- or herself) is having his friend Jay Baruchel over for the weekend. They haven’t seen each other in a while and are looking forward to spending the next few days playing video games, smoking pot and catching up. But a party at James Franco’s house derails their plans, much to the dismay of Jay. But the party is soon interrupted by the end of the world, as foretold in the Bible. Now the friends must put their differences aside if they are to survive the apocalypse.
From the start of the film to the rolling of the end credits, I had a smile on my face and a lot of the time that smiled morphed into an out-and-out laugh. There are so many great jokes and great scenes that to delve too deeply into them would be to spoil it. Suffice it to say, Rogen and Franco’s attempt to make “Pineapple Express 2” in the middle of all the chaos that’s going on around them is priceless. And sometimes it’s not even the joke itself that’s funny but the delivery of it.
Part of what makes the movie so great is that the actors are clearly poking fun at themselves, from the preconceived notions that the public in general has about them to Seth Rogen admitting that he has an irritating laugh. No one gets away from the self-deprecating jokes, including the many, many people who make a cameo appearance, including but not limited to Michael Cera, Rihanna, Mindy Kalling, Jason Segel (whose part is small but his explanation of what it’s like to work on “How I Met Your Mother” is hilarious), as well as a great cameo that I won’t spoil. Oh yeah, the devil also shows up. I guess how could he not considering it’s the end of the world.
But beneath it all is a genuinely moving, charming and endearing story about friendship that anybody who has ever had a very close friend will relate to. It’s evident from the first scene of Jay Baruchel jumping like a girl in excitement to see Rogen to the scene where they all cuddle together while trying to fall asleep while the world is literally going to hell around them that despite the caricatures of themselves they’re portraying, they’re good friends in real life.
Rogen, who co-wrote and co-directed the film with Evan Goldberg, writer of “Pineapple Express,” has clearly learned a lot from Judd Apatow, who mastered the art of making gross-out comedies with heart. And that’s what makes “This is the End” work so well – the heart underneath it all. While without it the movie would still be funny, with it we care about the characters and want them to survive, even though it’s the end of the world, which means things probably aren’t going to work out well for them.
While everyone is pushing and shoving to see “Man of Steel” (I haven’t yet but it’s on my list), take a break from the mega blockbusters this summer to check out “This is the End.” If you’re not offended by harsh language and violence and have a somewhat decent knowledge of pop culture, it’ll be sure to end up as one your favorite films of the summer maybe even the year.