'This Is the End': Does the raunchy comedy's unusual premise pay off?(Read article summary)
'This Is the End' stars comedy regulars Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, and others as... themselves. Does the conceit make for an entertaining film?
The surprise comes when you run an eye down the cast list of the movie â€śThis Is the Endâ€ť and see the roles they're playing. Seth Rogen: playing Seth Rogen. Jonah Hill: Playing Jonah Hill. James Francoâ€¦ well, you get the idea.
â€śThis Is the Endâ€ť follows a group of friends â€“ the movie stars that you already know well from Judd Apatow-directed movies such as â€śSuperbadâ€ť and â€śKnocked Up,â€ť as well as other films â€“ as they suddenly find themselves in the midst of apocalyptic events. But, as noted above, all the movie stars are playing themselves, albeit fictionalized versions of themselves. Sort of.
Seth Rogen told the website Screen Rant that while the actors play themselves in exaggerated ways or do things they wouldnâ€™t do in real life, much of the dialogue was improvised by the actors, who have become very good at needling each other offscreen.
â€śItâ€™s so silly to have all these guys in a movie together and not let them riff off each other,â€ť Rogen said of letting the actors improvise. â€śYou know, that was always our plan.â€ť
During the film, the actors get slammed by their peers for a movie that failed at the box office or a certain part of their public persona.Â
Is it an unusual film idea? Definitely. So far, reviews have been mixed. Variety writer Justin Chang said the movie is mostly entertaining.
â€śThis directing debut for co-writers Rogen and Evan Goldberg offsets its slightly smug premise with a clever sense of self-parody and near-cataclysmic levels of vulgarity,â€ť Chang wrote.
Entertainment Weekly writer Owen Gleiberman loved the film, giving it an A grade.
â€śYou could sit through a year's worth of Hollywood comedies and still not see anything that's genuinely knock-your-socks-off audacious,â€ť Gleiberman said of the film. â€śBut 'This Is the End' truly is. It's the wildest screen comedy in a long time, and also the smartest, the most fearlessly inspired, and the snort-out-loud funniest.â€ťÂ
Others were less impressed â€“ Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter called the film â€śunlikable but weirdly compellingâ€ť but noted that the unique premise may be enough to fill theater seats.
â€śWith everyone here officially playing themselves, the result is like a giant home movie and a reality horror show, different enough from anything that's come before to score with young audiences,â€ť he wrote.