Apocalyptic movies aren’t anything new. Parodies of apocalyptic movies aren’t anything new either. But a comedy about the apocalypse that follows a group of Hollywood celebrities who are all playing themselves? Well that’s something that I can’t say has been done before, and that’s the main premise of Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg’s “This Is the End”, which is hilarious before the whole thing just gets old.
“This Is the End” opens with Seth Rogen picking up his friend Jay Baruchel, who he hasn’t seen in a while, at the airport. Jay hates Hollywood and just about everyone in it, so it is very reluctantly that he attends James Franco’s housewarming party with Seth. Just about everyone is there doing drugs and acting generally obnoxious, including Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Paul Rudd, Danny McBride—you get the picture. Then something crazy happens: there’s an earthquake, and some of LA’s citizens are sucked up into the sky by a blue light, while a hole opens up in the Earth and takes just about everyone else, including almost every celebrity at Franco’s party. Suddenly, it’s just Seth, Jay, James, Jonah, Craig, and Danny all holed up in Franco’s house, which fortunately for them is like a fortress. But they only have a limited amount of food, water, and drugs, and their selfishness and ineptitude quickly leads to fighting and stupidity—lots and lots of stupidity—among themselves, as Jay tries to convince everyone that this is Judgment Day and if they don’t get their acts together, they won’t get to go to heaven.
A lot of this movie’s humor relies on the actors poking fun at themselves and their stereotypical behavior. Since most of these actors virtually play themselves in all their movies anyway, playing themselves, even if it is exaggerated versions of themselves, isn’t much of a stretch. McBride delivers some of the most searing—and funny—insults, but is also hilarious himself, playing the unlikely villain of sorts. They even parody their movies; in their boredom the group films their own makeshift sequel to Rogen and Franco’s “Pineapple Express”. The rest of the film’s humor comes from the characters’ stupidity or is just randomly gross and crude, which can be funny until it just goes completely over the top.
And really, the whole third act of the movie is completely over the top. It does still have its funny moments, don’t get me wrong; but there were a lot more laughs to be had when the group was trapped inside the house, just trying to survive. By the end of the movie, they are being chased by giant demons and trying desperately to change their ways in an instant to get into heaven, and it just seems a bit much. It doesn’t help much that the characters aren’t really likeable at all. That quality makes sense at the beginning, since it’s the reason why they aren’t taken to heaven as part of the rapture in the first place, but even by the film’s end the still mostly act like jerks to each other.
Having said, that “This Is the End” is one the funniest and most intriguing comedies to come out this year so far. If you enjoy raunchy comedies, violence, and parodies of the Hollywood lifestyle, then chances are you will enjoy—and laugh at—“This Is the End”, at least until, well, the end.
Runtime: 107 minutes. Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.
Check out showtimes for this movie and more at the following St. Louis-area theaters:
- Wehrenberg Theatres
- AMC Theatres
- Regal Movie Theatres
- Galleria 6
- Chase Park Plaza
- Moolah Theatre
- Hi-Pointe Theatre
- St. Andrews Cinema
- Plaza Frontenac Cinema
- Tivoli Theatre
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