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Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: This is the End

Big Laughs from the Beginning

By Chris Sabga

Release Date: June 12, 2013 – U.S.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Running Time: 107 minutes
Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen        
Writers: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Cast: James Franco, Jonah Hill, 
Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, 
Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, 
Michael Cera, Emma Watson

"This is the End" features several notable names – James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, and Emma Watson, among others – all "playing themselves." They're trapped in Franco's house during the apocalypse.

Are they performing over-the-top versions of their real-life personalities, or are these – scarily enough – toned down portraits of who they actually are? Seth Rogen (who also has a starring role) and Evan Goldberg wrote and directed the film. Is this how they see their closest friends?

Of course, such probing questions are really beside the point. All that truly matters is how funny it is – and "This is the End" is genuinely hilarious. When I first heard about its premise, I thought it would be obnoxious and unbearable. What makes this movie so brilliant is that it doesn't even matter whether you like these actors or hate them; no matter how you feel going in, they play up their reputations to the hilt to create some truly hysterical moments. By the end of it, I left the theater loving them all.

But this film's brand of humor isn't for the faint of heart. Rape and masturbation are a few of the many inappropriate topics tackled by these housebound Hollywood stars as they try to get through the end of the world. It's rude, crude, and devilishly entertaining.

What else can be said? I can point out the humorous irony of a bunch of Jewish actors riffing on the Christian version of Armageddon. I found that fascinating. But this movie isn't about searching for any deeper meaning. It's all designed to make you laugh, and you likely will. I certainly did – many times.

There are some slow moments and a few things fall flat, but that's nitpicking.

"This is the End" is the rare comedy that has replay value. It's full of references and in-jokes. You won't spot them all the first time. The cast list on IMDB alone tells me that I didn't notice – or forgot – quite a few of the surprises. Of course, there is at least one memorable cameo that's impossible to miss – but I won't spoil it. I'll just say that it involves a trailer, a leash, and a wrestling mask. 

Would you want to spend your last moments with these people? Probably not. But they're certainly worth two hours of your time.

Special Bonus: In a questionable move that won't win me any "Uncle of the Year" awards, I took my impressionable teenage niece to see "This is the End." Here are her reactions...

NOTE: The following "interview" contains SPOILERS for the movie!

What did you think of "This is the End"?

Silver Screen Niece: I thought it was really funny, but overall, the plot was kind of stupid.


Silver Screen Niece: It was about the apocalypse, and then Jonah Hill got possessed, and then there was a giant seven-headed monster.

What did you like about it?

Silver Screen Niece: All the jokes they were making, the crude language, and I liked how they used their real names in the movie – that was cool.

Who was your favorite character?

Silver Screen Niece: Probably James Franco (laughs).

Why Franco?

Silver Screen Niece: Because he's cuuute (giggles). But he really needed to shave in the movie. Oh, who was that guy that everyone hated?

Do you mean Jay Baruchel?

Silver Screen Niece: No, it was Danny McBride. He was funny. And I like how they threw Channing Tatum and Emma Watson in there.

How the hell did that just appear?

As I try to figure out what happened, my niece continues talking about Emma Watson.

Silver Screen Niece: You wouldn't expect her [Watson] to be in a movie like that. She's not usually in movies like that.

What should I call this column? World's Worst Uncle?

Silver Screen Niece: Yes, because it [the movie] was highly inappropriate (laughs). But it was funny.

Were there any characters you didn't like?

Silver Screen Niece: Let me think about that. (Pause.) No, I liked all of them. They were all really funny.

Do you have anything else to add?

Silver Screen Niece: I would definitely recommend seeing this movie. Just don't take any young children – unless you want to scar them for life.

Oops! Too late (smiles).


  1. This WAS a great movie-- and even better review!!!

  2. For future reference:
    Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Julian Morris, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Marla Sokoloff, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Adam Brody, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gabriel Macht, Halston Sage.

    Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Connelly, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan, Joel Kinnaman.

    Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Andrew Garfield, Ezra Miller, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Ben Foster, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron.

    Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.


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