Published Jun 07, 2013Frequent creative partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg use their prior short with South African director Jason Stone, about a couple of friends bickering during the apocalypse, as a springboard for this feature-length adult playground of a film.
Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen reprise their roles as versions of themselves, long-time friends who have begun to grow apart due to differing lifestyle choices. Basically, Jay thinks Seth has been sucked into the black hole of Hollywood egotism and douche-baggery, while Seth thinks Jay is being a dismissive, judgemental prick.
Their issues are forced to the surface when Jay grudgingly agrees to attend a party at James Franco's new house, which represents the pinnacle of the vapid excess the Undeclared star finds so repulsive. But while the down-to-earth Canadian actor crying-foul on his countryman for selling out gives the story a spine, nobody is going to leave This Is the End discussing morality or the power of friendship. It's the demon penis that'll have tongues wagging. That, the flippant string of star-studded cameos and a consistently funny central cast that fully commit to the film's filthy brand of self-deprecating humour.
When the shit hits the fan, Jay and Seth are trapped with James Franco (embracing his wanker artist persona), Jonah Hill (portraying himself as a people-pleasing, repressed homosexual), Craig Robinson (playing up his reputation as a loveable teddy bear) and, as they discover the morning after, Danny McBride (as usual, a scene-stealing manifestation of pure id).
This group of exaggerated personalities tries to survive together, passing the time by shooting homemade sequels (remember that fake Pineapple Express 2 trailer?), getting high (the pantheon of stoner comedies has a new entry), engaging in analogue masturbation and struggling to figure out what the hell turned Los Angeles into an apocalyptic barbeque pit.
For first-time directors working with a modest budget, Rogen and Goldberg do a great job of constructing surprisingly hard-hitting, gory action scenes, managing to put a tremendous amount of production values on screen (the creature effects are better than some films with more than four-times the funding). That they also demonstrate a well-honed instinct for comedic editing is more expected, but no less essential a part of making such a silly project work, which it does, better than it has any right to.
Set your brain to cruise control and enjoy a pack of naughty doofuses setting the Hollywood hills ablaze and then pissing on the ashes. (Sony)