Warning: Moderate Spoilers
2013/United States/Comedy-Horror/English/107 minutes
Written & Directed by: Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, David Krumholtz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, Paul Rudd, and The Backstreet Boys.
The Premise: While attending a wild Hollywood party at James Franco’s house, best buddies Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with The Apocalypse (literally). After The Rapture, who is left? Why, hollywood assholes and Jews, that’s who! The actors all play alternate versions of themselves and much of the dialogue is reported to be improvised.
Thoughts: The film is disguised as a frat-boy comedy—common territory for Rogen and Goldberg, the team behind Pineapple Express, Superbad, and The Watch. This film is bound to be a disaster. It is inevitable that it will be cheezy, childish, and, at nearly two hours in length, painfully tedious.
These assumptions would be highly incorrect. We thoroughly enjoyed the film. There were dozens of knee-slapping moments, combined with adequate special effects, jarring horror gags, and a superbly balanced energy throughout. Common horror film tropes abound: exorcisms, found-footage, zombie apocalypse, cannibalism, etc. However, this film is not a spoof on horror films. That would be far too simplistic.
Equally impressive is the willingness of these actors to take themselves less than seriously. Poking fun at their own careers and public personas (Cera eschews his “aw-shucks I’m so awkward and cute” persona for that of a a coke-snorting, lecherous hollywood wreck).
The film is has a genuinely exciting and semi-frightening plot line, but is 95% comedy at its core. A heartfelt and brotherly-love ending feels appropriate, but means to remain several yards away from schmaltzy. The film is constantly surprising. Each turn and twist is highly unpredictable. Musical gags abound and in-jokes are plentiful and rewarding. Craig Robinson, as he should be, is allowed to sing and play the keyboard at the aforementioned party.
The Book of Revelations is taken at its word. Dragon beasts from hell, the opening of the earth, fire and smoke, death and destruction, etc. Mind you, the most revolting and beastly character is Danny McBride, who is extremely unlikeable (the characters and the audience are on the same page in this matter).
Some Favorite Quotes:
Hermione just stole all of our shit.
Seth, that’s a better performance than you given in your last six movies. Where the fuck was that in Green Hornet?
James Franco didn’t suck any dick last night? Now I know ya’ll are tripping.
So…I just drank my own pee for the first time. And…it ain’t bad.
Emma Watson showed up.
Just ‘cause a bunch of people fell into a hole outside doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.
The Verdict: Pleasantly surprised. Certainly recommend for fans of horror, sci-fi, and/or raunchy comedy. Very vulgar and violent, be warned. Very R-Rated. Not exactly a “date movie” (depending on your date), but certainly college up-all-night fare. Great effects make in-theatre viewing a huge plus. Familiarity with the “frat boy” comedy genre, as well as horror film tropes makes it much more enjoyable. Viewing Pineapple Express may be especially beneficial, since it is referenced several times. The ingestion of illegal substances is not condoned by this blog, certainly not before watching films. However… B+