Pineapple Express, Superbad, Tropic Thunder, Knocked Up, Your Highness – all comedies that I have viewed and enjoyed. The common thread to all these are the main cast members of This Is the End directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan. In various permutations, James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson have shared screen time together in the aforementioned movies. So the idea of them “surviving” apocalyptic goings-on together in the Hollywood Hills is one that filled me with anticipation. The trailers clinched the deal for me – not for the first time may I add. Sucked in like a celestial object into a black hole.
And here’s the thing. I’ve just been on imdb.com to create the links for this piece and was confronted with a rating of 8 from 25,448 users for this movie. Really?!? Perhaps it’s just me. Please don’t get me wrong…it’s not bad. That is to say, It’s. Not. Bad, rather than “it’s not bad” (said with an inflection at the end). Although, while constructing this rather convoluted section of my blog, on consideration…”it’s not bad” (inflection to be used).
I like these actors, I like the work they do (generally) and I like the idea of them playing themselves. I get that the filmmakers are riffing on the public perception of each actor that’s been created by the characters they have portrayed in the past. It’s just that the movie doesn’t elevate itself to the sum of its parts. The narrative is Rizla-thin and I think that’s where the problem lies. Here’s a group of “friends” surviving and not really doing much else; other than getting wasted on whatever alcohol and/ or non-injectable drug that has been scrounged from Franco’s house post-event. I laughed (occasionally), chuckled (infrequently) and smiled (generally) through the entire 107 minutes. But did I really enjoy it? No, not really. It was just OK. I do want to like this film a lot; but I can’t. Would I recommend it? After saying all that, yes, I probably would. Go see it and hopefully you’ll be one of those 25,448 imdb users that thought it was very good. But don’t blame me if you don’t guffaw all the way through. Oh, and the end sequence…REALLY?!?