The apocalypse is very much in vogue these days. Whether it’s in the form of a zombie infestation, viral pandemic, asteroid, or environmental disaster… Hollywood has it covered. If you are part of a comedy collective… say, one of Judd Apatow’s friends, you might feel a little left out of all the destructive mayhem… so why not gather everyone you know, have them act as fictionalized versions of themselves, and place them at the center of the oldest of apocalypses… the rapture, the original End of Days. Thus, This is the End was born.
Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the pair behind Superbad, This is the End is far and away the funniest movie about the end of the world I have ever seen. The basic premise of the film is that Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen’s buddy from Canada, is in L.A. to hang out and reconnect with his friend who has drifted in his life due to his increasing fame. Instead of just sitting around Seth’s house getting high and playing video games, Seth wants Jay to join him at James Franco’s house for a party. Unfortunately, Jay can’t stand most of Seth’s more-famous-than-he-is-friends (especially Jonah Hill), but he comes along for the ride in spite of his better judgement.
The party at Franco’s is over the top… exactly what those of us who are not wealthy actors imagine a party at Franco’s to be like… in fact, each of the main actors portrays versions of themselves that play off of those preconceived notions, or the very images that they have managed to convey. For instance, Franco plays off of his “Mr. Artistic-self serious” image to great effect (and making me actually like him for a change)… forgetting Jay’s name and making the case of how everything is art… and his overly attached affection for Seth Rogen. Craig Robinson gets to play the affable guy we all know and love, Danny McBride amps up his asshole persona to 11, Jonah Hill is allowed to be the douchebag you wouldn’t expect, but it’s Michael Cera’s small role as the sex-crazed coke fiend that steals the show early on… at least until he dies a horrible, yet hilarious, death.
We are allowed to spend some time at the party for a while… we get cameo after cameo of various actors and actresses from the Apatow stable… and then, all hell breaks loose… literally. From demon dogs straight out of Ghostbusters to a Rosemary’s Baby homage, the biblical prophecies begin to pass, and most of Franco’s attendees find themselves tossed into a fiery pit… and you will laugh at each and every death.
Eventually, the party is whittled down to six survivors… Jay, Seth, Franco (he can get away with a last name only), Craig, Jonah, and Danny… and the breakdown of civility begins. Again… I’ve never laughed so hard at others misery… and these guys make every moment on screen hilarious and memorable. Mrs. Blahg and I both agree, we need to see this another three or four times just to catch every gag that is thrown around so effortlessly. By the time McBride is donning Franco’s tux, you may have already pissed yourself.
What everyone fails to mention in reviews of this film is that this is Jay and Seth’s movie. It’s very much about friendship and what it means when two people begin to grow apart through time, careers, and fame… and how that fame can alter who we are and make us lesser for it. This wonderful message just happens to be surrounded by massive amounts of death, destruction, and pure unadulterated joy.
My only real complaint about the movie is the title… for whatever reason, I can never remember it correctly. I’ve referred to it as The End is Nigh… The End is Near… The End of Time… etc. Once I realized it was a line from The Doors’ The End, I got it.
Also, bear in mind that this movie is not for kids… the language and subject matter is seriously over the top. I don’t believe I have ever heard so many dick and cum jokes in as short a period of time as I did watching This is the End. Hearing Franco chastising Danny McBride for cumming all over the place is something I simply would have never imagined hearing… and demon cock is huge! You have been forewarned.
Every summer there seems to be at least one break out R rated comedy… This is the End is that movie. Treat yourself to a great laugh and have some fun with the end of the world for a change.
It’s the end of the world and I know it, and I feel…
Cornelius J. Blahg