The bromantic comedy
That’s what it’s called, right? These movies about “boys will be boys” hijinks, stuff like The Hangover, Wedding Crashers/The Internship, Old School, Pineapple Express—basically all the movies the Stiller/Apatow crews have been making for the last 10+ years. (Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy’s The Heat would be the female counterpart.) These movies aren’t just buddy comedies—they’re as much about the characters’ friendship(s) in the movie as they are about the real life friendship(s) of the actors. With a cast featuring real-life bros Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson (plus pretty much everyone they’ve ever met on a set before), This is the End is the alpha and omega of bromantic comedies.
That’s a tremendously funny bunch of people—especially Jay Baruchel, the unsung hero of Tropic Thunder—and the movie is tracking well. The projections keep rising week to week, and it’s a really good sign if those Nervous Nellie bean counters think a comedy can close upwards of a hundred million. Frankly, I think it’ll top that as the movie is so much more than just a comedy. It’s a horror, too! Not, like, dark scary horror, but more in the vein of an Edgar Wright/Attack the Block horror/comedy/parody mash-up, with the added hook of celebrities lampooning themselves. Word of mouth has been strong, and even though Man of Steel will crush it opening weekend—End is opening two days earlier to get a jump on the box office—it should have strong legs.
Which means Baruchel will front his first mainstream winner since Tropic Thunder (How to Train Your Dragon doesn’t count since it’s just vocal work). That makes me happy for him—I’d take Baruchel over Jonah Hill any day of the week. But it also means that on his freshman effort behind the camera, Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg are going to come up winners, too. A lot of the early reviews specifically note Rogen and Goldberg’s tag-team directing and how confident and assured they are, juggling tones and an ensemble and landing all their jokes. That’s no mean feat and it makes Rogen a triple-threat, a writer/director/performer, a title not even Will Ferrell can claim.
But can we talk about James Franco? How is it that he is capable of rolling with a project like This is the End and yet be so f*cking insufferable every other second of the rest of the time? That’s the trick to the bromantic comedy, I guess. People will walk out thinking Franco is actually as cool as the movie makes him seem, that the whole Artiste thing is just a schtick, just another performance, and not indicative of a self-obsessed ego feeding on its own farts. Watch, This is the End will prompt a wave of Franco Forgiveness.
Attached -- photos from the This Is The End premiere earlier this week.