Director: Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg
Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson
Written by: Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg and (based on the short film “Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse”) Jason Stone
Running time: 107 mins
Release date: 28th June 2013
Here’s an idea. Get a group of friends together, preferably famous, and decide to make a movie. Forget about creating characters, just based them on your own persona. Then put them into an impossible situation, maybe the apocalypse, then add loads of jokes about smoking weed, men’s genitalia and the fact that they are famous. Then release it for the viewing public and hope it makes loads of money. To be honest it probably will even though it is a massive hit and miss affair. That is exactly what Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, the comedy partnership behind Superbad and Pineapple Express, have done. But does it work?
Jay has flown into Los Angeles to stay with his best friend, Seth. After a couple of hours of smoking weed, playing video games and generally acting immature, Seth announces that they’re going to a party at James Franco’s house. Jay isn’t that interested. In fact he doesn’t like the people that Seth hangs out with. He’s not a fan of the Hollywood lifestyle. Under duress he goes. The evening doesn’t turn out exactly how he planned. In the middle of the party, LA is hit by the apocalypse. A huge gaping hole sucks down quite a few of the party goers, leaving James Franco, Seth, Jay, comedian Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and Danny McBride to survive for very little food and minimal water. Who will be the strongest to survive?
The film devotes most of its time watching this group of actors pretending to be scared out of their wits while at the same time bitching and moaning about how they can survive the survivable. They run around screaming and shouting, while making jokes about bodily functions and taking drugs. It’s the kind of thing that we come to expect whenever you put these actors together, whether they’re playing themselves or not. Most of the time the jokes are infantile and sometimes very lazy. The big surprise, however, is that some of the jokes actually work.
The film is at its best when it is self mocking and satirising Hollywood. The fact that Seth Rogan only seems to be able to play one particular character, himself, and that most of the group are egotistical, loathsome (Danny McBride particularly comes under attack for being slobbish and vile) and only spend their money on the material things, especially drugs.
Michael Ceri’s character, as a coke-head, is particularly hilarious. Seeing Emma Watson as far removed from her Hermaine character in the Harry Potter films is also very funny. There was also a funny Exorcist parody with a hilarious retort to the line “The Power of Christ Compels thee!” While I did laugh quite a lot (although not as much as the man sitting next to me, who found every single syllable hilarious and was actually clapping after every gag) there was an awful lot of padding and in places it became very repetitive. Who was going outside? Who wasn’t going outside? Who drank the water? And so on and so forth.
Originally based on a very short film made for You Tube, this properly worked very well. Dragging it out for 107 minutes it did feel longer. I think the film would have worked even better if it had concentrated more on the satire about Hollywood and Hollywood Life. Instead he kept reverting back to more penis jokes and taking drugs. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t laugh and I did a lot more than I thought I was going to. This could have been the funniest comedy of the year. Instead it was mildly amusing.