This Is The End is a juvenile, indulgent lark that operates under the dubious belief that Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jonah Hill might be amusing or remotely entertaining playing themselves.
In what seems to have been an idea cooked up over excessive amounts of beer, pizza and bongs, This is the End sees Rogen and his long-time Canadian compatriot Jay Baruchel (who appeared in Almost Famous and Million Dollar Baby) get together for what Jay hopes will be a quiet weekend with his old buddy. Much to Jay’s horror, Seth insists they go to a party at James Franco’s house and anyone who saw Franco’s performance at the Oscars a couple of years ago would understand Jay’s reluctance. Jay also dreads having to spend time with likely party guest Jonah Hill who he thinks hates him. Little does Jay suspect that a catastrophe of Biblical proportions will see him barricaded for days in Franco’s house with the very people he despises.
This Is The End begins promisingly as we’re led into a ridiculous Hollywood party with stars like Emma Watson, Michael Cera and Craig Robinson from The Office acting like more obnoxious versions of themselves. The celebs including Rogen, Hill and Franco, riff on popular culture, take the piss out of each other and generally make fun of their own shortcomings as actors and human beings. There’s nothing particularly witty or memorable here but the dialogue does seem like the kind of snarky banter that might go on between these guys.
When the film introduces the horror/fantasy twist, however, it turns into a weird scatological and mostly unconvincing mix of Superbad, Ghostbusters and Dawn Of The Dead. It’s like a parody of survival movies where the main challenge for Jay is to survive his obnoxious celebrity friends, particularly the repulsive uninvited guest Danny McBride. Unfortunately, it’s at this point that the quality of the comedy in This Is The End takes a nosedive as were subjected to interminable montages in which Rogen and the others gobble drugs, attack each other and generally ass about to the strains J-Kwon, Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill. The soundtrack even features a collaboration between Snoop Doog and Craig Robinson on a song called Take Your Panties Off which is used in a segment that’s funny for about one second but keeps going and going.
This film is actually an expanded version of a short film Rogen and Baruchel made in 2007 Called Seth and Jay Vs. The Apocalypse. It may have been better in the short film format because there’s some tedious padding here; the porno mag argument between Franco and McBride is about 10 times longer than it should have been.
This film is meant to be ridiculous and not a straight up action or horror flick but even accounting for this, the supernatural elements here are still remarkably lame with some very dodgy looking cgi beasties. Far more terrifying for many audience members, though, is the suggestion in this film that Rogen and Franco might make a sequel to the mind-numbingly tedious Pineapple Express.
If you’re a 14 year old boy who thinks that people swearing and doing drugs is really edgy and that nerds talking like pimps is hilarious, you will probably love this film. Everyone else is advised to avoid this one.
Nick’s rating: Two stars.
Director(s): Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.
Release date: 18th July 2013.
Running time: 107 mins.
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