We should all know by now that extreme caution is advised any time the promoters of a new film bill it as ‘extremely raunchy’ – that’s usually movie shorthand for crude waste of money that’s well worth avoiding. It’s called the Hangover effect.
So let’s tiptoe towards This Is The End and consider the evidence.
Scattergun TV trailers before the press reviews start appearing? Check. Roll call of usual suspects with a string of grisly grossout efforts on their CVs? Check. High concept humour that sounds appealing but is poorly executed? Check.
So all the indications are that it’s a mess, but that teenage boys will love it.
The set-up sees James Franco throwing a party for his A-list pals – you know, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, those guys.
And it’s really them, they haven’t got character names or anything. Hilarious!
But as they get down and get with it, the ground outside starts to shake.
It looks as if the world is coming to an end – so how will this comedy collection face up to imminent destruction?
It’s easy to dismiss this as a vanity project for Hollywood insiders who have enjoyed too much undeserved success and are indulged to the extreme, so let’s do that. There are some belly laughs, some obvious ‘big names playing against type’ giggles, but that doesn’t make it any less of a mess.
You can pretty much guarantee that when they were casting for a knockabout comedy, Jason Statham would not have been on the wish list.
But that doesn’t matter, because he would have been too busy to oblige.
He would have been making another of the identikit ‘gruff action man makes bad guys sorry they messed with him’ thrillers for which he is best known.
The latest one off the production line is called Hummingbird, in which he plays a homeless ex-soldier on the run from a court martial who finds himself carving out a new career as a Chinese mobster’s enforcer, even though he still sneaks food to his homeless mates still on the street. What a guy!
But then he finds out that the girl he left behind died in dodgy circumstances, and goes on the obligatory trail of head-cracking revenge.
In a week full of no surprises whatsoever, it’s reassuring that Despicable Me 2 is just like the original animation from which it springs, because that was pretty good.
Steve Carell voices the would-be master criminal with a soft centre, Steve Coogan and Al Pacino lend their talents to the enterprise and the result is a reliably entertaining family film with something for everyone.
You can watch Steve Carell talking about his latest starring role in the video report above this review