Film Review: This is the End (MA15+) (USA, 2013)

Every now and then a comedy comes along that just seems to work. It’s not terribly intelligent, nor will it win any Academy Awards, but it ticks the most important box that any comedy needs to possess: it’s genuinely hilarious, without being painfully cheesy. Already riding on healthy word of mouth in American cinemas, This Is The End is the latest film to fit into this category, set to arrive in our own this Thursday.

To talk about the film’s premise is quite an easy task: This is the End stars a slew of America and Canada’s most well known contemporary comedians and puts them together in James Franco’s house during the apocalypse, asking the all important question: what would happen when Hollywood’s elite are left to fend for themselves? All involved – from Franco to Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen (who co-wrote and co-directed the film with friend Evan Goldberg) are playing exaggerated versions of themselves; or, put more precisely, exaggerated versions of the people we THINK we’ve come to know from tabloids and the big screen.

A couple of exceptions to that are Michael Cera who is coke and sex fiend, and enjoys the first and most hilarious death in the film and Jonah Hill, meanwhile, enjoys being the “super nice” guy, which is quite the opposite of his reputation. I could go on and on about the stars of the film, but part of the fun of it is seeing them take the piss out of themselves and each other. It gets pretty “meta” in that respect, from the group referencing the disappointing Your Highness to looking to a “what if” Pineapple Express sequel. The bro love between Seth Rogen and James Franco is done well, literally taking things into the closet. It was a pointed focus of Franco’s character in the film, to play on his ambiguous sexuality; though don’t come searching for character development in this film. Unless “demon rape” is considered a character development. Have I said too much?

Speaking of demon rape, there were plenty of dick jokes, and the inevitable “what do you drink when you run out of water?” question is explored. So, yes, it’s silly – but as mentioned earlier, it never heads into the “too cheesy” category that many American comedies painfully fall victim to, so it’s always bearable. There are parts in this film that will leave you in painful stitches, and with one of the best endings ever seen in the history of cinema (not hyberbole, I genuinely think this), you can’t help but leave the cinema wondering how they got away with making a film like that so enjoyable. And much in the vein of Shaun of the Dead, they actually make it suspenseful at times, too; albeit the UK film is far superior when you start going down that road…

This is the End will rank, easily and without question, as one of the most talked about and entertaining films of the year. It brings humour to the end of the world in one of the most unique ways we’ve ever seen in cinema, and though it is indeed silly (in all the best ways), it’s destined to be a classic of the genre.

My only real gripe: Surely Rhianna deserved a more inventive death!

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

This is the End is released in Australian cinemas on July 18th. It’s rated MA15+.