Written by Adam Carson.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have written and directed This is the End, a disaster-comedy loosely adapted from a 2007 short film entitled Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse.
The film focuses on Rogen and Jay Baruchel’s friendship. Their relationship has become quite strained ever since Rogen moved to LA and started actively engaging in the Hollywood lifestyle. When Baruchel visits Rogen in LA for a one-on-one catch up weekend, he is soon dragged along to a party at James Franco’s new house.
It is at this party that the laughs really start flowing. We get a mass of cameos all playing up to the notion that many now come to expect from Hollywood stereotypes; from the vain and sex crazed, to the out of control drug addicted monsters. Michael Cera in particular steals the show, with the largest deviation of character from his normal self, you can really tell that both he and the writers had a blast shaking up his image.
Things soon take a turn when LA is hit by a massive earthquake which kills off the majority of the cast, bar Rogen, Baruchel, Franco joined by Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill. They are soon joined by Danny McBride and spend the rest of the movie waiting for a rescue that they soon come to realise is not going to happen.
There are some great cameos to come, and some hilarious sequences, but it is at this point of the film that it does start to drag on a little. There are some long scenes that make you wonder why they were included and if they were even necessary. Saying that, the choice to have all the actors playing completely exaggerated versions of themselves is absolutely genius. However, I find Danny McBride to be the exception. Although we are used to seeing McBride playing, well, a dick in the majority of films this has to have been the first film in which I actively disliked the character that he was playing. At the same time, I feel that as the plot develops those feelings are there for a reason.
There is a ton of meta-humour that fans of the groups’ work may take note of. It is rewarding for fans who have generally followed everyone throughout their careers, but I did have a fellow cinema goer interrupt me to ask why some of the jokes were so funny. There are digs at failed projects, each others perceived personas and the ‘fakeness’ of Hollywood in general. Though at its core This is the End, like Pineapple Express and Superbad, deals with male friendships and the inability of guys to express their inner feelings to one another. While it is probably best described as a horror comedy, this is, at its heart, a bromance film.
Both Rogen and Goldberg have managed to add an impressive directorial debut to their ever growing resumes. This is the End proves to be much more than the premise presented: actors playing themselves surviving an apocalypse. And it has to be said, it is so refreshing not having trailers ruin important moments in advance. While This is the End does have some pacing issues and some off choices in the story, it is a promising sign of what is to come from Rogen and Goldberg.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10