This is the End Review

imagesThere’s nothing necessarily wrong with the movie: like always Craig Robinson is the best part and Jay Baruchel is the worst; the guy from Eastbound and Down is annoying and the guy from Moneyball is distracting. What could’ve made the movie better (and since it’s sitting at like an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, there’s not a lot of room for improvement) is to keep the comedy consistent.

Over the last few years – and this counts in TV as well – there’s seems to be this consensus of attitude that says, “If it’s a comedy, let’s just make it funny.” Which is fine: fart jokes can make people laugh just as much as a joke about a physicist, but it doesn’t necessarily make for great repeat viewing. It’s why I can watch The Simpsons or Seinfeld twice daily over the course of several years and still laugh but I can only watch The Big Bang Theory once a month; it’s why I can watch Airplane! or Groundhog Day over and over but only see Clerks once.

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NOT a stoner comedy

In This is the End, there is a lot of humor that advances the story and a lot of humor just for humor’s sake. There was also a lot of “Look! We’re laughing at the same thing you’re laughing at!” type of humor.  This is the kind of humor where the joke doesn’t necessarily move the story along nor does it just seem like a silly gag; it’s the type of joke where the actors sort of step aside and wink at the audience to say, “Yeah.  We know it’s a movie too.  That’s how we can get away with this.”  Spaceballs and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle did it really well.  Most of the time, though, it takes the audience out of the movie.  When the audience gets taken out of the movie, there can be no emotional connection.  When there’s no emotional connection, then it doesn’t matter what happens to the characters (which is why Spaceballs and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle did it really well; I coudn’t give two shits about what happened to those characters) and the characters of This is the End really wanted to be liked.

About three-quarters of the way through it, the writers wanted this movie to be Ghostbusters: sorta funny, sorta scary, and all fun.  Up until that point, they wanted to be Billy Madison.

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