Damn…even as I write this…I’m still chuckling. This celebrity-stoner fever dream is hilarious, pretty much from beginning to end. At least…I think so. Co-written and co-directed by Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express), this is one of the slickest ‘comedy sketch-blown-to-movie size’ flicks I’ve ever seen. One of the key assets of this gory comedy is the fact that all the actors are playing self-deprecating versions of themselves.
The bonkers story starts off with Seth Rogen picking up Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder) from LAX, in order for the two of them to hang out, get baked out of their minds, drink some beers n geek out like the successful celebrity geeks that they are. Along the way, Seth convinces Jay that it really is a good idea for them to head over to James Franco’s (Spiderman) new, fortress-like pad, for his celebrity-laden house-warming party. Jay, being a moody Canadian introvert, really wants nothing to do with Seth’s new crew of American actor buddies, but for his buddy Seth…he relents. On arrival, the two run into Franco (obviously), who plays himself as a pretentious, artsy goof, along with a Jay Baruchel-obsessed Jonah Hill (Superbad) and the chubby, panty-loving comedian Craig Robinson (Hot Tub TIme Machine). During a brief run to a corner store, Jay and Seth blunder straight into the cataclysmic beginnings of The Apocalypse. After a panicked run back to Franco’s, all hell (literally) breaks loose. And off the movie goes!!
Once more, a substantial part of the effective laughter fuel that this flick has in it’s tank is watching these readily familiar actors/celebrities play these dip-shit versions of themselves. It’s not just the douchebag facsimiles of Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Hill and Robinson we encounter either. Danny McBride (Your Highness) crashes the party too, and if what he plays resembles how he is in ‘real life’, that man truly is an ignorant asshole. Michael Cera (Arrested Development) turns up in a hilariously obnoxious coked-up cameo that people will not soon forget…as Michael Cera. If he wanted to destroy the image of George Michael Bluth, this is the role that’ll do it (“Does this coke smell funny to you?”). We also see Rihanna (Two thumbs up for what happens to her!), Channing Tatum (basically playing The Gimp from Pulp FIction), Emma Watson (who looks delicious while angrily brandishing a fire axe), Christopher Mintz Plasse (Kick Ass) (who takes a cloud of cocaine in the face thanks to Cera) and The Backstreet Boys. Yes…you read that correctly. Strangely, their contribution fits like a glove. But considering that this flick is essentially about The End of TImes…that’s not much of a stretch.
Speaking of The End of Times, this flick has some pretty cool images of The Apocalypse to show off. Los Angeles in flames as far as the eye can see. Strange bull/bat demons prowling through the devastation. Huge fiery sinkholes. People being yanked Heavenward in tubes of crisp blue light. A massive demon (with a massive demon cock) striding over the burning ruins of LA. They also don’t skimp on the gore either. We get a messy severed head, a bitchy woman spectacularly splattered by a falling A/C unit, raw cannibalism, and all kinds of strange bodily fluids sprayed, ejaculated, puked and pissed all over the place. Good, clean family fun!
I had a suspicion that ‘This is The End’ was going to be amusing, but I didn’t anticipate laughing my ass off the whole way through. There are all manner of quips, jokes and gags on display here, and they come quickly (just like Danny McBride!). We get jokes at the expense of the actors past roles and performances, we get clumsy gore gags, we get all kinds of amusingly childish insults thrown back and forth through the group, we get absurd visuals and many, many others. In a nutshell, ‘This is The End’ is a somewhat subversive, self-deprecating excuse for these guys to put before the camera a slew of ideas that HAD to have been dreamed up after many a solid bong hit. Most of it works REALLY well, and I recommend it for anyone who is familiar with these guys and their work…as well as anyone who just wants to fire up a ‘phatty’, and chuckle moronically for an hour and a half.
*Cue ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’ by The Backstreet Boys.