Comedy is a film genre where serious directors need to be extra careful, as they have to balance between ease of perception and quality humor that would not be flat or obscene. On the other hand, many directors choose corny jokes as the easiest way to draw attention to what they create and make their audiences laugh; however, the quality of such films remains rather low. In my opinion, “This is the End” directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg represents the latter category of comedies, as it is literally supersaturated with explicit humor and vocabulary, and its plot is absurd in the worst meaning of this word.
A group of friends hang out at a party in Los Angeles, where many famous people are invited. While they spend time in a house taking drugs, drinking alcohol, and having fun, the end of the world is oncoming; people are being literally ascended to Heaven in cones of blue light. However, none of the main characters ascend; instead, they are left on collapsing Earth refusing (for some time) to believe in the end of the world. After a number of absurd events and a row of silly deaths, three of the characters finally get to Heaven, where they dance listening to Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody.”
Though some critics compare this movie with the famous film “Dogma,” for me they have little in common except religion-related topics. To start with, even if an inexperienced viewer would like to watch “This is the End,” they would have difficulties with understanding the movie, as its jokes are to a significant extent connected to other movies by Rogen and Goldberg (and after “This is the End” personally I don’t feel like watching them). Since in the movie all actors play themselves, and considering that they have played in other films by Rogen and Goldberg, the majority of jokes are related to their previous roles and performances. So, if you expect quality black humor—for instance, some kind of social satire as in “Shaun of the Dead”—”This is the End” is not your choice, as it is pure self-mockery.
This is not to mention that the characters seem to be unable to pronounce a single word without “decorating” it with three more explicit words. I am definitely not a prude, but it seems that the authors really believed that the more times they mention genitals the funnier the movie would become. Anyways, a viewer will have a hard time looking for dialogues that would not refer to sex, drugs, alcohol, or various forms of abuse. The feeling that rises from all this is boredom: when I was watching “This is the End” in a cinema, I could hardly wait until its end.
The plot itself does not tell any story. This statement may seem absurd, as it contradicts the purpose of the plot, but it is true. “This is the End” reminds of an experimental ground with a number of challenges, where several subjects have been released to see what would happen to them. This is perhaps the key point to describe the movie’s story outline: characters do not act—everything happens to them, often without any obvious logic. People are put into a situation where everybody except them ascends to Heaven, and the world collapses—this could be a perfect setting to use! However, the authors chose to focus on genitals rather than on the end of the world.
The presence of such actors as Emma Watson or Channing Tatum does not save the situation; even Rihanna does not. I wonder what Emma Watson was doing there?
Probably, “This is the End” can be funny; it can make many people laugh so that they would have to gasp for breath. But personally I think that this movie is boring. Even absurdity has its own logic—but this movie does not.
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