Opening 8 Aug 2013
This Is the End pokes fun at the shallowness and general depravity that is Hollywood. When Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogan go out to buy some cigarettes at a local convenience store, several customers get zapped up into the sky and then general chaos reigns. However, when they return to James Franco’s housewarming party, nothing has changed, and certainly no one has ascended to heaven. His house is essentially immune to the apocalypse (due to reinforced concrete and earthquake protection), and with the sex, drugs, alcohol and general depravity displayed, it is no wonder that they weren’t considered worthy. When the majority of the party discovers the apocalypse (and many fall into a giant hole, presumably to hell), Baruchel, Rogan, Franco and three other Hollywood actors find themselves trapped in the house with minimal food (and only one Milky Way bar!). While the world falls apart outside and it becomes increasingly clear that no one is coming to save them, tensions rise within the house. When water runs out, the actors must find a way to survive — and possibly figure out this whole redemption thing too.
While it is certainly over-the-top, This Is the End is a truly enjoyable comedic film. It is a clear successor of other films by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg with its rather sophomoric and sometimes cringe-worthy humor. However, unlike some of their previous films (Superbad , Pineapple Express ), This Is the End manages to never reach the point where the humor is too idiotic to handle. Just when things begin to get too ridiculous — such as when they’re kicking a decapitated head across the floor or when two characters get into a fight about ejaculation — they dial things back… such as with an extended reference to The Exorcist (1973). Rogen and Goldberg manage to make the film just sophomoric enough to be laugh-out-loud funny without making it too disgusting to stomach.
The set-up and the story are really what bring this movie together, as all of the actors are just playing their usual roles. It is interesting to see all six pretend to play themselves, because essentially they end up acting exactly the same as they do in every other film they are in. While normally this would be considered poor acting, in this film it fits in with the ridiculousness of everything else. There is no apparent acting in this film, honestly it just feels like a reason for all six actors to get together and have a heck of a good time making a funny movie. In addition, there are several cameos of note. Channing Tatum is particularly hilarious and Rihanna has proven yet again (as we learned from her stint in Battleship ) that she should never, ever act, not even for a cameo role playing herself.
While it is certainly not a film for anyone who has more discernible taste for subtle comedy, This Is the End promises to be enjoyable for just about everyone else. It is a perfect blend of silliness and crudeness that comes together to make an all-around hilariously funny film. If you go in not looking for sophistication, you will come out smiling. (Rose Finlay)