This Is The End was the riskiest film of the summer. It was either gonna work or be a complete disaster that would sweep the Razzies. With everyone playing “themselves”, the comedy is set around these actors sitting around James Franco’s house as the Apocolypse happens outside. At best, you’d think it would work as a SNL skit, not a full-length flick. But somehow writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg make it work. Whew.
The smartest thing that the film does is play the Apocolypse “straight”. It really is all happening and nothing about it is funny. The goofiness comes from the actors and not the situation. Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel head over to James Franco’s mansion for a party that is a “who’s who” of young, hip Hollywood. It’s a party that we all like to think happens every Friday night. The movie doesn’t shove the boatload of cameos in your face. It just has people pop up in shots of casual group conversations. It’s fun to see who’s there so I’m not going to spoil it.
I will say that Michael Cera steals the movie in his brief scenes at the party. This is Michael Cera like we’ve never seen him before. Every moment he’s onscreen delivers a big laugh. After laying low the past couple of years, it looks like Cera is back on the scene with great work in this, the new season of Arrested Development, and the festival flick Magic Magic. Emma Watson also has some great moments here too.
In the middle of the party, everything hits the fan, or should I say, sinks into a hole, and a lot of people die. When the carnage is over, it leaves Franco, Rogen, Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride in the house together as they try to figure out how to survive. The events are crude, violent, vulgar, ridiculous, but yet constantly hilarious. The actors are totally game to poke fun at themselves and their past work. None of them are playing action heroes. They are just a bunch of actors fighting over who gets to eat the only Milky Way chocolate bar.
I kept waiting for this film to fall apart, and it never does. There’s even some scenes where I thought “this is never going to work”, but it proved me wrong everytime. The script smartly keeps things moving, and never runs a joke into the ground nor go for some over-the-top climax.
This isn’t a film for everyone, but if you don’t feel guilty laughing at things that you should never make you laugh, (they are kicking around that guy’s head like a soccer ball!), then check out This Is The End.