I wasn’t too sure what I was thinking when I wandered into This Is The End on Friday night. I typically don’t go for raunchy R-rated comedies these days (though there many I enjoy), nor am I a big fan of actor Seth Rogen. I was in fact expecting something not much better than Grown Ups.
But after seeing the movie, I will admit that my prediction was completely wrong. I laughed a lot during This Is The End, a hilarious look at the apocalypse through the eyes of a group of comedians playing themselves. It’s crude, vulgar, and violent, sometimes all at the same time, but it’s also pretty funny.
The film begins with Seth Rogen picking up his old friend Jay Baruchel in Las Angeles. Soon, both head over to James Franco’s house, who’s holding a massive party in his mansion. But things start going array when the rapture occurs and all sinners must remain on Earth and endure hellfire and the wrath of Satan. After a huge sinkhole kills most of the celebrities at the party, Jay, Seth, and James attempt to survive in the mansion along with Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and Danny McBride.
The rest of the film is devoted to the comedians trying to endure the apocalypse. In a way, it’s like Night of the Living Dead, except with celebrities. I expected This Is The End to be a lazy excuse for a bunch of friends to hang out together, but that isn’t true at all. All of the actors are willing to do anything to get a laugh and like on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm play parodies of themselves. James Franco acts like an artistic snob who continuously sucks up to Seth and Danny McBride takes the part that Danny McBride plays in all of his movies. Even the short cameos by other celebrities are self-mocking. In his small role, Michael Cera plays a coked-up womanizer, something I would have never expected. Not to mention there’re plenty of references to the actors’ past work, including Freaks and Geeks, Pineapple Express, Spider-Man 3, and Moneyball.
This Is The End isn’t a flawless comedy to say. The beginning is inconsistent and the movie really doesn’t know how to end. But it’s very effective, often very hilarious, and thus far the year’s best comedy.