This Is the End

A new beginning for Seth Rogen, James Franco, and the rest of the Apatow all-stars.

As brilliant as they often were, everyone grew a little weary of the Judd Apatow-style bro-coms of the last decade, right? Even, as it turns out, the original bro-commers themselves. Now, in This Is the End, virtually all of them – Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and several others – have gathered together to set a fuse to the genre and send up their familiar personas in a giant ball of flaming self-mockery. The result is kind of brilliant itself, and gut-wrenchingly funny from beginning to end.

Even more than the Apatow movies – The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express – the new picture is awash in what would have to be called cutting-edge raunch. There’s a long, furious back-and-forth between Franco and McBride on the subject of masturbation that sets a new standard in foul hilarity. And it’s not even the most hilarious thing in the movie. There’s also mild-mannered Michael Cera doing things you’d never, ever expect to see Michael Cera doing; and new recruit Emma Watson – wielding an axe and a savage snarl – putting the Harry Potter movies behind her once and for all.

The movie was scripted and co–directed by Rogen and his longtime writing partner Evan Goldberg. All the stars play themselves. The story begins at LAX with Rogen greeting his friend Jay Baruchel, who has flown in for a weekend of pot-smoking and video games. On their way out of the airport, some random mook spots Rogen and shouts, “You always play the same guy! When’re you gonna do some acting?” Rogen, inured to this sort of public abuse, just keeps walking.

Back at his modest pad, in the process of getting heavily baked, Rogen suggests to Baruchel that they head over to a party at Franco’s new house. (Franco being a man of famously innumerable talents, he has of course designed these fabulous digs himself.) Baruchel is reluctant. He can’t stand Franco. Rogen says Jonah Hill will also be there. Baruchel can’t stand Hill, either, but he eventually relents.

The party is a roiling bacchanal. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is among the revelers, as are Robinson, Martin Starr, and Aziz Ansari. Jason Segel strolls through at one point, and for reasons that no one bothers to make clear, Rihanna is on hand as well. Scathing one-liners begin to fly, and continue until the house is shaken by thunderous tremors. Earthquake? No. Outside, there’s chaos in the streets, and the hills of Hollywood are ablaze. Paul Rudd appears, but is quickly sucked down into some sort of blazing Hell Portal that has opened up on Franco’s front lawn. This aspect of the film – its parody of big-budget CGI apocalypse movies – is pretty funny in itself.

The old bro-coms, all connected in one way or another with writer-director-producer Apatow, drew much of their appeal from a fresh combination of scabrous dialogue and sweet sentiment. Here, with Apatow absent, there’s not a lot of sentiment, but there are flashes of philosophical seriousness. (Yes, really.) After several partiers have barricaded themselves inside Franco’s mansion to await whatever horror is slouching their way, Baruchel produces a Bible – the last thing you’re expect to pop up in a movie like this. The Book of Revelation is consulted. The possible existence of a wrathful God is debated. An unexpected dread begins to form. Could the End Time really be at hand?

I wouldn’t want to spoil the this picture by further detailing its epic inter-celebrity hostility, or quoting any more of its instant-classic lines, which pile up like car-slides on a collapsing freeway. The movie is fearless in its comic invention. As I’m guessing you’ll probably see for yourself.    

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  • Meerkatx||

    I've also read the movie does a good job on showing us a group of friends dynamic where on person has a friend that is not embraced by another group of friends and he doesn't embrace them. Rogen being that guy who has to smooth things out between the group and single friend.

  • ATrumse||

    This is certainly the nicest-work I have ever done.. Earn 10 to 80$/hr working from home with Google! On Saturday I got a gorgeous Ariel Atom after earning $6292 this – four weeks past. I began this six months/ago and right away began to make at least $80.. per-hour. I work through this link, www.Bling6.com

  • Almanian!||

    Didn't RTFA. Chances I will see this movie - zero.

    It has one of my "If this person is in it, I won't watch it" warnings - Seth Rogan. Others include, but are not limited to, Zack GalifiGREEKNAME, Vince Vaughan, Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Jane Fonda, Jonah Hill, Woody Allen and Kristen Stewart.

    I may someday watch a movie with one or more of the people in it, but it will be by accident, or because my wife is watching it while I'm porn surfing, etc. But it will not be affirmative or by my own hand.

    That is all.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Dad, is that you?

  • MJGreen||

    Whose dad doesn't like Woody Allen?

  • Brett L||

    Jennifer Aniston was good in Office Space, Dodgeball is really good and the first Hangover movie was fine.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Geez man, is there anything you can watch with that rule in place (other than porn)?

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    I don't think that new Vaughn - Wilson comedy looks very appealing, but I thoroughly enjoyed Wedding Crashers.

    I'll see This Is the End when it hits DVD, despite the presence of somebody who approaches "If this person is in it, I won't watch it" territory with me - Michael Cera.

  • Bobarian||

    Heard Seth Rogan interview on O&A this morning.

    Talked about how there were some risks here based on the actors playing charactures of themselves.

    Said Cera was the most open to mocking himself (and something about doing coke and having his ass ate out).

  • Redmanfms||

    I don't care who is in it, I like apocalyptic movies so I'm going to see it.

  • gaijin||

    Seth Rogan is stuck forever playing the role of Seth Rogan. He's as multidimensional a talent as, say, a post it note.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Bro-com? That's a thing?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    gut-wrenchingly funny from beginning to end.

    I find this unlikely.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    He's as multidimensional a talent as, say, a post it note.

    "The gamut of human emotion from A to B," as Dorothy Parker said.

  • JW||

    Now, in This Is the End, virtually all of them – Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and several others – have gathered together to set a fuse to the genre and send up their familiar personas in a giant ball of flaming self-mockery.

    I'm rooting for the apocalypse.

  • ryanethan02||

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  • FYTW||

    Saw a trailer for this. The bit where they're restraining, and trying to reason with, a demonically-possessed Jonah Hill looked pretty hysterical. So I'll probably catch it.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    "As I’m guessing you’ll probably see for yourself."

    thatz a weird sentence. I wonder if "as" was supposed to be "and"

    Or maybe this clause, once affixed to a prior thought, sunk down to the bottom on its own!

  • KL||

    No, it's as-intended, for better or worse...

  • Tommy_Grand||

    Good review tho

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater||

    HILARIOUS movie, especially with Danny McBride and his 'companion' at the end. I think of it as a side-quel to Cabin in he Woods.

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