Derek Winnert

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This article was written on 01 Jul 2013, and is filled under Reviews.

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This Is the End ** (2013, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Danny McBride) – Movie Review

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Hooray! Some of my favourite movie people gather for one of my favourite genres – the American slacker comedy. Assembled here for our delight are the highly talented and likeable Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Emma Watson, Michael Cera and (well, no, never mind) Danny McBride.

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It’s written by the reliable Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad) too, and based on their 2007 short film Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse. So just how superbad could it be?

It won’t come as much news that it’s often absolutely filthy. You weren’t expecting subtle, were you? Fair, enough, great, bring on the bad-taste, grossout gags, that’s just fine, nothing wrong with that at all per se. But the bad news is, it’s hardly ever actually funny. The humour crosses a line and it’s superbad all right. It can just about coast on the nice, good-natured vibe of Seth, Jay and James Franco, but that’s about all.

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It starts really promisingly. With all the actors playing themselves, Seth meets the less successful Jay at the airport, and takes him over to his pal Franco’s place, to network with the stars. Seth repeatedly dumps Jay, as he’d promised not to, to curry favour with more important Hollywood players Franco, Cera and Hill.

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At this point, it’s apocalypse now, as the end of the world takes place. Chaos rages outside and it’s not much better indoors. At this point, too, the film pretty much just collapses. Self-indulgent to the point of disappearing up itself, it wears out its tentative welcome after about 20 minutes – so you can see how it would quite possibly make an amusing short film.

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The self-referential stuff gets so self-referential it starts to feel like a super-vanity project. Seth and Franco discuss the prospect of Pineapple Express 2. Mmm, yes, Pineapple Express 2? Well, yes please, I’d quite fancy seeing that, guys, certainly more than This Is the End.

Then again, half the audience probably won’t have a clue who the heck this lot of funny guys are, and, if you don’t know their CVs, lots of the lines and situations will be meaningless.

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I don’t mind some fratboy smut at all, but, there again it has to be witty, even clever, to work. Seeking out to raise laughs simply by shocking and going where no one has dared go so far, this lot can’t make jizzing on other people’s property, manboobs, incontinent spaniels, peeing in your own mouth or an over-endowed Beelzebub hilarious, just disgusting. It comes over not so much desperate to please as simply desperate.

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I think I most disliked the movie when it insults the innocent, hapless young Emma Watson, who, in the story, seeks refuge with the motley crew. Unlike the others, she’s no comedian, obviously, and seems lost in this blokeish man’s world. She’s just there as Harry Potter’s Hermione to be their stooge, to be letched over and be the butt of their laddish humour. Talk by the men of their possible ‘rapey vibe’ just isn’t good.

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Having said that, nobody could perform it better than the present cast, all exuberantly playing themselves to perfection. That might probably simply seem like slacker acting, but I’m guessing it takes loads of skill. When I saw it at a packed preview, there were small pockets of people, many of them women, laughing hysterically, convulsed mostly in embarrassed reaction to the filthy stuff. Around them were rather larger areas of silent folk, no doubt mentally tut-tutting.

http://derekwinnert.com/pineapple-express-classic-film-review-579/

© Derek Winnert 2013 Movie Review

Check out more reviews on derekwinnert.com

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