Sunday, July 27, 2014


THIS IS THE END is a disaster movie that came out last year and I caught on cable. It's a seductive set up, a bunch of Hollywood types, including celebrities, are at a party at James Franco's house when the Apocalypse occurs. A disaster/comedy, great. Franco does a good job of tweaking his image, as does Jonah Hill and a few others, including Emma Watson in one of the better cameos and Michael Cera who turns his public and movie persona on its head as a coked up sex object.

One of the main roles is played by Seth Rogen who just plays the same guy we see in every Seth Rogen film which isn't that interesting or funny when everyone else is either playing extreme versions of who the public thinks they are or the exact opposite.  There are some very funny bits, especially early on, but there is also a lot of the usual bodily fluids and functions adolescent humor that I didn't even like when I was an adolescent, back when that humor was confined to schoolyards and locker rooms and team buses, not in movies or in comics' routines.

Of course the adolescent boys it seems to be aimed at all know this film, like my sixteen-year-old youngest or my about to turn sixteen grandson. But for this adult, it ultimately failed to live up to expectations. All that talent and money seemed almost to deliberately be frivolously thrown away on not very original comic set pieces in what promised to be a very original premise.

Whereas, IT'S A DISASTER, another end of the world disaster/comedy that came out the year before, no one I know seems to have even heard of let alone seen, and yet, it's a masterfully original movie with a small cast that should have been nominated for a SAG ensemble award. Some are known, though none as big as Franco and Rogen etc., like America Ferrera and Julia Stiles, and most audiences would recognize David Cross even if they didn't know his name, but the rest of the cast were pretty unfamiliar to me (they may be on network TV shows I don't watch but I didn't remember them from any movies) like Rachel Boston, Kevin M. Brennan et. al.

But man, what a simple set up and satisfying pay off. It's four couples, one of which is on a more or less blind date (Cross and Stiles) having a get together in one of the couples homes when some sort of disaster hits the world and they are stuck together for what may be their last hours. Unlike THIS IS THE END, there are no adolescent potty jokes etc, but in fact pretty grown up wry comments on what it means to be a grown up in a relationship. Lots of tension and release, feints and jabs, pretense and brutal honesty.

If you haven't seen IT'S A DISASTER, do. If you haven't seen THIS IS THE END, well, you might want to watch it for some of the funniest bits and set ups, but except for a handful of scenes, don't expect anything too great or original. Anyway, that's my opinion.

No comments: