Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reconcile in Guyville

It's been a Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg week for me, the writer-directors whose latest movie is the hysterically funny comedy about the apocalypse, This Is the End.  The show I attended was, appropriately, evacuated mid-screening (apparently it was a false fire alarm, and we were allowed back in to finish the film, but the strobes that had interrupted were a perfect complement to the havoc on screen).

The actors, who include Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Jay Baruchel (a kind of repertory company for Rogen & Goldberg), play themselves.  They're at Franco's party at his home in the Hollywood Hills when an apparent earthquake occurs.  All the guests flee and our guys are left together to fight against an unknown force--as well as deal with conflict from among their ranks.

Last night I also watched, back to back, Rogen & Goldberg's Superbad (2007) and Pineapple Express (2008).  Superbad stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera (Cera also has a small but hilarious part in This Is the End) as BFFs whose characters' friendship is strained, ostensibly over the quest for liquor, girls, and sex, but really over Cera's character's impending abandonment of Hill's to attend Dartmouth in the fall.  The rupture between them is ultimately repaired when, finally back in bed together, so to speak, they're able to talk about what's really bugging them and reaffrim their love for each other.  The two BFFs can finally separate to pursue their potential girlfriends at the end, only after they've effected their own rapprochement. As Hill explained, "The great romance of your youth is your best friend at that age."  And as Liz Phair sang, "'s harder to be friends than lovers."

In This Is the End, the women are dispensed with toute suite.  Emma Watson makes a brief reappearance with an axe, then the plot gets back to the guys.  In this film the men also bunk together, crowding in and around a sofa bed, too fearful to sleep by themselves (and when Hill does, boy, are the consequences dire).  

James Franco plays Rogen's sweet drug dealer in Pineapple Express--he loves his "bubby" (grandmother) and hopes to become some kind of civil engineer.  Rogen plays a process server who aspires to be a radio talk show host.  McBride's is a character who betrays them to drug lords, but who is ultimately reconciled with them.  The three end up in a classic diner scene, declaring their love and best friendom:

For all the raunchy veneer of these films--the drugs, the booze, the sex--they are sweet and wholesome at the core.  It's refreshing to see such unabashed bromance.  Here's the trailer for This Is the End:

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