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Many movies are successful because they do several things very well. This Is the End is supposed to be a dumb comedy, but also a movie about an ebbing friendship and the end of the world. RoboCop also wanted to accomplish more than its primary objective; it’s a sci-fi cop thriller, but it’s also a cynical satire of our materialistic world. It pulled both of those things off flawlessly, while This Is the End felt like a rote comedic exercise with not much else for audiences to enjoy.

The guys that made TItE admit that they are students of the Apatow school of cinema. Judd Apatow’s breakthrough movie was The 40-Year Old Virgin, which is a tender, late-coming-of-age film filled with ridiculous humor. That movie kicked off a series of comedies with the same recipe: oodles of sentimentality with silly improvised dialogue. With each Apatow-helmed movie, both the emotion and the humor felt more and more forced. They were relying too heavily on their actors’ irreverent improvisations while forgetting to be well-written movies. Kind of like how the series of movies with the word “RoboCop” in their titles became less and less badass with each release. They wanted cool robot fights, but didn’t bother with any of the depth the original RC had. For this reason, they cannot even be considered RoboCop movies. In fact, there’s reason to start a petition to remove that word from their titles.

Anyway, though Apatow-produced movies like Walk Hard and Forgetting Sarah Marshall were as hilarious as they were refreshing, the movies that wanted to be like 40-Year-Old just got boring. Part of what made the above movies great is that they felt like well-written movies first and comedies second.  TItE barely makes an attempt at being anything else but an improv-style comedy. So when the familiar, tired, comedic bickering between actors isn’t working, it feels like a failure. Actually, RoboCop actually has more laughs in it than this movie. The man behind Bixby Snyder was a comedic genius, and who can forget ED-209’s last, sputtering moments before collapsing outside of the OCP building?

Never forget your prime directives!

NOT-ROBOCOP

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