Tired of apocalypse films yet? No? Me neither. So even with the crop of pre/post/during the apocalypse films that have come our way, I’m up for more. World War Z, for example. But what happens to the idiots — the famous idiots — when it’s the end of the world? I’ve gotta know these things. So when This Is The End came around, I wanted to see if the film was as good as their trailer made it out to be. And it is. Because I love it when famous people make fun of their own celebrity. There’s a ton of that in this film. There’s also a ton of guest cameos, and plenty of raunchy, gross, and plain-old funny fun.
At one minute shy of two hours, This Is The End does get a little clunky at times. And yes, there are a few “lookit the big peen!” moments that come off as embarrassingly childish rather than funny. But at the end of it all, what’s left but to laugh your ass off? Luckily, with This Is The End you’ll do just that. I laughed so hard at the screening I attended that my aisle-buddy covered her ears to avoid getting a headache. Yep.
The story? Well, it’s your basic friends-until-the-end-find-out-it’s-the-end tale. The twist is that instead of characters, these actors play themselves. Well, tripped-out versions of themselves. James Franco is obsessed with Jonah Hill, Michael Cera is a coked-out sexual deviant, and…well, you get the picture. The famous folks in This Is The End are goin’ big, and enjoying every minute of scenery-chewing. Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz (Firefly), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segal; everybody gets a chance to make fun of themselves and have it filmed for posterity. Emma Watson’s version of herself — a chick that’s not above using an axe to get what she wants when the world is coming to an end — is one of the meatier cameos, and she’s terrific. But keep an eye out for Channing Tatum, who gets a high-five for his performance. More info on that would spoil it, so just watch.
Director Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express) helped write the short film Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse, on which This Is The End is based. With this film his first time in the director’s seat, Goldberg is pretty damn good at the game. This particular apocalypse is one of the biblical variety, complete with pits of lava, crazy demonlike things, and through it all, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride are still acting like they’re in high school. And that’s a good thing, because their whining, arguing and fighting is what brings the funny. And there’s also the usual bit of heavy toking, and a look at Pineapple Express 2: Bleed Red. (A first look, for those of you that missed this April Fool’s Day YouTube gag.) Rogen and Goldberg get a tip of my hat for putting in a Rosemary’s Baby reference, though I hope that Jonah Hill didn’t have to go Method for that scene. (NOTE: with a possession storyline, there’s the usual bit of barf. If you don’t dig that, do what I do; close your eyes and think of England.)
Will people that aren’t into pot, dick jokes and guys whining be into this? Yes. Because this movie shows what most folks will really do during the apocalypse; freak out and then pretend that everything’s a-okay by sinking into immaturity. With a bunch of game actors, a seriously funny script and creepy special effects that channel hell by way of burning coal, This Is The End should have you laughing all the way to the next apocalypse.