You’re glad when This Is the End comes to an end. Sure, it’s got some laughs, particularly early on, and its emotional end is kind of warm, but otherwise, this is a self-indulgent flick that should never have been expanded from the short film it is based on.
Here’s a trailer:
Released June 12, 2013
Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, based on the short film by Jason Stone
Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Starring Rihanna, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, and cameos from plenty of other celebs.
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In This Is the End, the actors play characters that are ostensibly more nutzo and ridiculous versions of themselves.
Jay Baruchel arrives in LA to spend a weekend or so with his pal, Seth Rogen. They have a day of video games and pot smoking and wind up at James Franco’s house for a big party. Baruchel is anti-social and doesn’t really want to be there, but he goes at Seth’s urging.
At the party are a large number of recognizable faces, including Rihanna, Aziz Ansari, the names listed above, and the sadly unfunny Kevin Hart. Before long, Baruchel wants to ditch the festivities, but Rogen convinces him to stick around. But then the Rapture happens and the Apocalypse shows up and everything goes to pot.
None of the celebrities are taken up in the initial Rapture. Most of them die messily, leaving the group of Baruchel, Rogen, Franco, Hill, Robinson, and McBride to try to find a way to survive the apocalypse. Baruchel starts quoting from the book of Revelations, although the quotes we hear aren’t really from the Bible; they’re paraphrases and purely made up.
After a fiasco with Emma Watson, the group of selfish survivors has to figure out what’s going on. Finally they come to a realization that they might need to be nice to others, leading to the final scenes where friendship and sacrifice lead to a very disturbing vision of heaven.
The central premise of This Is the End is funny enough for a skit or very short film: celebrities play awful versions of themselves shoved into an apocalyptic situation wherein they do desperate things to stay alive. The visions of Cera being some kind of girl magnet and these people being more awful to others than we could imagine provide several very funny moments. There are even some solid scenes of dialogue and physical comedy that provide bright spots.
But the story takes a back seat to gross-out humor and celebrities making tongue-in-cheek jokes that seem designed to make the audience think, “Gosh these guys are cool and don’t take themselves seriously.”
Only Franco really was able to find an actual character to play and he does a bang up job. Everybody else coasts and the film drags and its payoff is, while momentarily warming and entertaining, pretty flat.
Ultimately, This Is the End has one joke that it tells over and over in several different ways, and that joke can’t carry the film through some truly gross and graphic language and visuals and scenes. This is a lazy, self-indulgent, mostly flat, surprisingly boring movie.
Stay away from this one. Why audiences loved the movie so much says very bad things about the people who love it.
Content warnings: Everything bad and awful you can imagine is in this, save for female nudity. Language, bloody violence, etc– all there.
Writing: 1 Acting: 2.5 Overall: 1.5
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