This Is The End could have been a disaster. A movie with actors playing themselves and casting their friends. It’s a movie that we probably should hate, and probably would have if it had gotten into the wrong hands. Thankfully, it was handled properly and the result is an outlandishly comical movie.
This Is The End is the directorial debut of Seth Rogan & Evan Goldberg, the same team that wrote Superbad. The duo also penned this script, so you know that it is indeed in the right hands. The film is based off the 2007 short film Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse that featured Seth Rogan & Jay Baruchel. They fleshed out the story, invited their clique actor buddies to star in it with them and made it as ridiculous as possible.
The film starts off with Seth Rogan picking up Jay Baruchel at the airport. The two are best friends but with some friction forming due to Seth’s new friendship with bigger stars. Rogan plans a fun day with Baruchel that will end with an epic party at James Franco’s house. Jay isn’t too pleased about this because he doesn’t care too much for the celebrity scene. When they get to Franco’s the party is as ridiculous as can be. The fun only lasts for so long, and soon the party ends once the apocalypse begins.
The main gang members of the film are Seth, Jay, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and James Franco. The actors all play fictionalized versions of themselves basically elevated to all kinds of levels of ridiculousness. They have no problem making fun of each other, but the key to their success is that they know how to poke fun at themselves. A key of comedy is being able to laugh at oneself, and this is something that This Is The End has down pact. No joke is too raunchy, and no one is safe. There are countless number of random cameos and surprise appearances that are sprinkled throughout the film which hopefully you won’t see coming. From the trailers you should know that Michael Cera is in it and it’s not the George Michael version that we all know and love. This is a raunchy almost disgusting Cera that is completely against type, and his impact is most memorable in my mind. That is the beauty of This Is The End. We are showed versions of these characters that are somewhat true, and somewhat ridiculous. When they get this balance right, it makes for a bloody brilliant batch of fun.
Rogan & Goldberg are already known as a solid comedy writing team, but they show off their directorial chops with relative ease here. It’s hard to believe this is their first time directing as the film is very well made. There are plenty of cool shots and effects that you would expect to find from very capable veteran directors. They incorporate some horror effects that are genuinely scary at times and will leave a trace of suspense along the way. There is blood, there is gore, and there is a lot of randomness that is more than likely due to improv, something that these cast of players is more than capable of.
When it’s all said and done, it’s a wildly entertaining ride that will do it’s job if you’re looking to laugh for 106 minutes. It does push the limits of ridiculousness at times, almost to pitfall, but it handles itself with enough meta intelligence to pull itself out and keep the fun going. We see the actors come to terms that they may not be as good of people as they hoped, as others get saved and others get left behind, we see friendships and faith both tested equally, something that was believable because of this wonderful group of actors and their chemistry. If I had to make a major complaint is that there wasn’t enough Jason Segal, which is nothing short of a crime.
This Is The End is one of the smartest stupid movies to come out in a long time, and will likely be one of the finer comedy efforts that will be released this year.