Thursday, September 5, 2013

This Is the End

Outrageous. Hilarious. Ambitious. Smart. Original. Best comedy of the year. These have all probably been uttered in some reviews for the film and I'd have to agree with all of the praise. This Is the End is the sort demented movie that I'd find ingenious. I've been such a huge fan of Judd Apatow and his alum's style and brand of humor. You can cast the net wide to include many filmmakers under his umbrella and frankly, they've all been open about what has inspired them thus to say that they aren't so much as trailblazers as they are re-imagining and re-interpreting the humor that informed their own tastes. Come to think of it, some of my favorite comedies have been from the past ten or so years- The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005, Apatow), Knocked Up (2005, Apatow), Tropic Thunder (2008, Stiller), I Love You Man (2009, Hamburg), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008, Smith), Pineapple Express (2008, Green), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008, Stoller), The Five-Year Engagement (2012, Stoller), The Hangover (2009, Phillips), Role Models (2008, Wain), The Foot Fist Way (2007, Hill), Anchorman (2004, McKay), Talladega Nights (2006, McKay), Step Brothers (2008, McKay), The Other Guys (2010, McKay), Superbad (2007, Mottola), Walk Hard (2007, Kasdan), Bridesmaids (2011, Feig), Borat (2006, Charles), Bruno (2009, Charles) etc. all liked to varying degrees of course.

Maybe some would agree with me while others might think I'm being low-brow, too generous towards a popular trend, or even just insane. Putting all that aside, I'm a huge fan of many of these performers and to see them all play and lampoon themselves was a neat treat, but ultimately directors/writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg one-up their concept by taking it from gimmick to... well something else that shouldn't be put into words but can only be alluded to. 

The gag of this being like a crazy episode of Entourage (a show whose creator has feuded with Rogen coincidently enough) doesn't run out in minutes. Instead the film almost unkowingly breaks a fourth wall of sorts to transcend that expectation. The best comparion I can think of is to another brilliant comedy, that being Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead. Wright often tells a story about deep relationships that is then placed in the realm of some sort of genre. Wright has used zombies, buddy cop movies, and alien invasions and here Rogen uses the apocalypse (which has been a popular concept in movies and especially television in recent years).

Similar to their screenplays to Superbad and Pineapple Express, This Is the End suddenly has these "awwww" moments with there being actual character development. Thankfully, Rogen and Goldberg also realize that development can be really, really, really, really, really funny.

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