The best kind of comedies are based on self-deprecation. There’s nothing funnier than someone being able to poke fun at themselves, which is why so many standup comedians are great at what they do. In film, many writers and directors think the best way into an audience’s heart is through slapstick and prop gags – a cheap way to obtain laughs without doing any actual work (ie; a character tripping over a chair and falling face first into a cake). Because that route is (unfortunately) box office dynamite, it’s incredibly rare when we are gifted with an authentic comedy that’s built around great plotting, characters and payoffs.
This Is the End, which is a horror comedy (don’t let the advertising fool you), is without a shadow of doubt the funniest movie to hit theaters since Superbad or The Hangover.
In one of the most ingenious, brilliant and clever plots, This Is the End features the comedy best friends club of Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Aziz Ansari, and Emma Watson all playing themselves. This takes self-deprecation to an entirely new level as each and every of the aforementioned cast jab each other in a roast-styled comedy that’s jam-packed with gut-busting laughs.
Baruchel, a recluse who likes to play video games, eat burgers and smoke weed, is visiting Rogen from Montreal. He hates the Hollywood lifestyle, yet is convinced by Rogen to go to Franco’s housewarming party. They arrive to a starfucker extravaganza that includes bizarre moments like Robinson singing about panties alongside Rihanna, and Michael Cerra doing lines of coke and getting double-teamed in a bathroom while drinking juice packs. The internal conflict is that Baruchel hates the scene and feels like Rogen is a traitor who’s become one of “them.” Bickering ensues. During a trip to the store for smokes, a major earthquake erupts and residents are all blasted to the sky in a blue beam of light. It’s the apocalypse and the rapture is upon them.
Back at Franco’s, shit gets crazy as half the party is decimated in a sink hole, while the survivors are holed up with a psychopath (played by McBride) completely messing up the chemistry. Extreme comedy ensues.
But this is a horror website, so let’s cut the shit. This Is the End is the best horror comedy since James Gunn’s SLiTHER. The studio can hide it as much as they want, but you’ll get heavy doses of gore and extreme violence, not to mention exorcisms, demons and the mother fuckin’ Devil himself.
While most of the movie takes place inside the interior of Franco’s ridiculous new pad, the visual scope of the film is stunning as we see the Hollywood hills completely engulfed in flames, helicopters crashing, and a large-scale battle with a massive beast. The visual effects, which include the demons and Satan, look absolutely incredible.
Outside of a few messy transitions and some pacing lulls, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg directed the living shit out of their screenplay. It’s rare to see a genre crossover like this, but Rogen and Goldberg stunned me with their understanding of the horror genre, the beats, and how to scare the audience. While This Is the End may be a comedy – one of the funniest this decade – it’s still an insanely competent horror movie that’s going to blow your collective minds.