This Is the End is silly, sophomoric and excessively self-referential. And it is ashamedly hilarious from start to finish. Particularly the finish.
A group of young Hollywood talent may have invented a new genre with This Is the End, mixing real people and actual events with over-the-top science-fiction, excessive satire, a barrage of industry inside jokes, and references to too many movies to count. In this overloaded grab bag, the only thing seemingly missing might be a romance, but the oozing bromantic elements make up for that.
The assembled male mob abuse, berate and poke fun at one another so much, it’s hard to tell how James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and others feel about one another. But in the end, it doesn’t matter because with such a surplus of talent, no one suffers under the spotlight for too long.
Coherency quickly stumbles in the story of a star-studded party at James Franco’s house breaking up when it looks like the Apocalypse has begun. Baruchel insists it is the Rapture, with the good being drawn heavenwards. That claim looks dubious, however, since the demons towering over the city look leftover from Ghostbusters and have absolutely no terror value.
The assembled group acts out formula survivalist-movie exercises with attempts to break out of the house, or to explore other areas of Los Angeles. The script struggles to sustain the flimsy story but survives due to the expected barrage of gross-out sequences, potty humor, hilarious catastrophes and even some unexpected guests — Emma Watson flees to the house only to escape when she believes everyone is plotting to rape her (an indicator of the shade of the film’s humor).
Written and directed by Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg, the film draws additional and short appearances from an impressive range of talent, mostly young males.
Consider that Channing Tatum shows up for only a few seconds in disguise as McBride’s leashed companion. Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Michael Cera, Martin Starr, Jason Segel, Aziz Ansari and others pop up just long enough to be recognized and included, which seems to be the main point.
This Is the End
Rated R, 107 minutes.