Apocalypse now seems to be the modus operandi in Hollywood these days, with Oblivion and World War Z both authenticating Earth’s demise with some outstanding visual effects, whilst trailers for Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s latest Cornetto collaboration The World’s End are duly circulating meanwhile. Ergo, it’s not surprising that people might expect Seth Rogen’s apocalyptic black comedy to be a lazy attempt at milking the same proverbial cash cow. But quite the contrary, This Is the End is one hell of a funny movie.
Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen play Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen, two old friends and fellow thespians who are enjoying a chemically-enhanced reunion in Los Angeles, and decide to attend a house-warming party held by James Franco (played by James – well, you get the picture). A raucous affair, this is a twisted Gatsby-esque party, playing host to a plethora of famous faces. From Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, to Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and even Rihanna, this is an outrageous drug-fuelled cocktail of well-known celebrities; it’s a who’s who of comedy’s finest (and Emma Watson), and everybody’s playing themselves. Oh, and what better to warm a house-warming party, than the great fires of hell itself.
Evan Goldberg has directed and produced some uproarious endeavours in recent years, from hilarious stoner films Knocked Up and Pineapple Express, to the bawdy coming-of-age classic Superbad, and This Is the End stands shoulder to shoulder with these comedy greats. Like Shaun of the Dead, it’s as meta as genre parodies can be, and with Seth Rogen taking joint (pun intended) helm with his directorial debut, you’ll be busting a gut as celebrity guts bust all over the Hollywood Hills. Indeed, as Jay, Seth, James and Jonah try to survive Judgement Day, at 106 minutes long, this superstar last supper is more flagrant with the deaths of big names than HBO’s Game of Thrones.
If you’re not a fan of Seth Rogen, don’t expect to be converted here. Like Superbad, it is crude, lewd and downright rude. A scorching barrage of one-liners and intertextual jibes, supplemented with enough gore, drugs and sexual references to ensure eternal damnation for each of the protagonists. Naturally, a few jokes are hit-and-miss, and it’s thoroughly immature, but for most fans, this is not the end of the world.
Like the biblical book referenced throughout, This is the End is a revelation, and a testament to Rogen’s comedy prowess. It is devilishly witty, and frequently side-splitting, both on and off the screen. An inspired turn from Michael Cera, in particular, had the otherwise innocent actor snorting copious amounts of cocaine, and the audience snorting out loud. And with some divine CGI and a heavenly cameo at the end to boot, this is a highly recommended watch.
Well I’ll be damned – who’d have thought the rapture could be so sweet.