Monday, July 15, 2013

Franco et company in "This Is The End"


Comedy is well known for being a really hard medium. Especially in the cinema, where having a laugh or two these days is almost an impossible task. Case in point; The internship - a sad sack excuse of a comedy that reunited Owen Wilson and Vince vaughn to try and recreate the sparks they attained in Wedding Crashers. Those sparks never happen and we are left with an empty comedy looking for oxygen to make it through its running time.

A more successful -albeit minor- film is Paul Feig's The Heat which pits Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in a buddy cop comedy with the added freshness of the two cops being played by female actresses. It works, for the most part. Feig, who directed the landmark comedy Bridesmaids back in 2011, loves women behaving badly or aka behaving like men. I don't blame him. If this were a typical male comedy I wouldn't have as many nice words for The Heat. It really helps that the film is aided by the always reliably funny McCarthy and Bullock -who's actually quite convincing here- actresses that have a charisma that really drives the film's sad sack screenplay. This isn't high art but The Heat made me chuckle more than a few times and -unlike many summer movies- didn't make me regret spending two hours in the dark.

However,  this summer nothing will beat This Is The End in terms of laughs and ballsy attitude. Fearlessly directed by Seth Rogen and his pal Evan Goldberg, This Is The End mostly takes place at a party in James Franco's posh L.A mansion. The twist is that as Franco's celebrity friends -including a coked out, Rihanna ass-slapping Michael Cera- are partying it up, the apocalypse has arrived and we are left with Franco and company -including Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride- trying to find a way to survive in an L.A overrun by egos , stoners and a well endowed biblical demon (Don't ask). It's a satirical end of the world premise that is wholly original and features one surprise after the next. No, seriously. I don't think i saw anything coming. The unpredictability of This Is The End is what makes it so damn good.

These celebrity comedians relentlessly make fun of their celebrity personas and make comedy out of the apocalypse. No small feat there. Rogen and Goldenberg's originality is contagious, they have created an apocalyptic, satiric stoner comedy that doesn't let anyone off the hook. Hollywood is the target and the satiric aspect stings. Rogen and company bite the hand that feeds them. The plot and its twists and turns might be outrageous but they never feel strained or overcooked. Much kudos must be given to a who's who of comedians showing up as themselves and mocking themselves in the most insane ways possible. The film isn't afraid to kill them off either. I look forward to more movies from these guys. This is a stoner comedy reaching the heights of artistic integrity, no small feat. I couldn't have like This Is The End any more than I actually did.

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