This Is the End written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Columbia Pictures, Point Grey Pictures, Mandate Pictures, R, 107 minutes)

Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson.

Signifiers of Comedy

Is humor the only signifier of a good comedy? When it comes to giving a recommendation, humor is certainly a critical component of advocating for such a film. I certainly recommend Anchorman, even if it’s an onslaught for jokes without much depth to any of the characters.

But I would argue a comedy could go deeper than the humor component. My favorite episodes of The Office—American style—include depth to the characters. Michael Scott is a caricature of an oblivious boss, but he still succumbs to the same hopes and fears as the rest of us.

So what do you do with a comedy that isn’t quite funny enough, but still includes some interesting culture critiques? Well, you’ve got This Is the End.

Meta

The actors, playing fictional versions of themselves, fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic world.

The film starts with Jay Baruchel (Jay Baruchel) arriving at LAX and meeting up with best friend Seth Rogen (Seth Rogen). After some peer pressure, Rogen convinces Baruchel to tag along to James Franco’s (James Franco) housewarming party even though Baruchel doesn’t really like any of Rogen’s Hollywood friends.

During the party, the Biblical rapture happens and chaos reigns supreme.

What’s left of the celebrities must face the peril of a world ending and questions concerning why they were left behind.

An Appraisal of Hollywood Culture

While certain parts of the film are funny—Jonah Hill (Jonah Hill) does a great job in particular—I wouldn’t define This Is the End as a thigh slapper.

Yet I found the film interesting, especially considering its appraisal of Hollywood culture.

A minor spoiler, but none of the celebrities get raptured and the survivors have a hard time understanding why. They are actors after all. They give joy to millions of people—and get paid handsomely to do it. Isn’t that the definition of a good person?

All of these characters are selfish, stuck-up, and petty toward each other. In this way, This Is the End critiques Hollywood culture from the inside; I enjoyed this aspect of the film.

But on the whole, the comedy wasn’t funny enough. This Is the End kept my attention for its full running time but it’s hard to give it much more of a recommendation than that.

Verdict: 2 out of 5

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