Movie Review: This is the End
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This is the End
Director(s): Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Writer(s): Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Cast: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson
Columbia Pictures
Rated R | 106 Minutes
Release Date: June 12, 2013

Written and directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, This is the End is an apocalyptic meta-comedy where celebrities play exaggerated versions of themselves on the eve of Judgment Day.

Jay Baruchel (Goon, Knocked Up) arrives in L.A to visit old friend and fellow Canadian Seth Rogen, who invites Jay to a housewarming party at James Franco‘s new million-dollar mecca.

At the bacchanalian get-together, hordes of celebrities schmooze and booze with one another. Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Mindy Kaling (The Office), and David Krumholtz (Freaks and Geeks) carry on meaningless conversations while a coked-out Michael Cera slaps Rihanna‘s ass and starts a fight with his Superbad co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Jay feels uncomfortable around Seth’s new Hollywood friends “” including Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Emma Watson “” so Seth agrees to accompany him to a convenience store for cigarettes. While they’re perusing the candy aisle, beams of blue light shoot down from the sky and abduct a handful of the store’s customers. Frightened, Jay and Seth make their way back to Franco’s fortress amid explosions, car crashes, and mass hysteria as people are beamed up into the clouds.

Back at the party, Franco and his friends are oblivious to the bizarre events occurring outside. A powerful earthquake rocks L.A. and a gigantic sinkhole opens up in front of Franco’s house, swallowing partygoers like Martin Starr (Party Down) and Aziz Ansari (Parks and Rec). The Hollywood Hills are on fire; Doomsday is upon us.

Now James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, and the nefarious Danny McBride must discover the true meaning of friendship and redemption as the world crumbles down around them. This is the End is an uproarious masterwork of horror-comedy that manages to be both obscene and heartfelt.

It’s like The Avengers, an epic crossover that caps off a phase of films including Knocked Up, Superbad, and Pineapple Express. Goldberg and Rogen never take themselves – or their friends – too seriously, allowing James Franco to be an over-the-top facsimile of the pretentious, eccentric renaissance man we all assume he is. McBride, on the other hand, is the foul-mouthed white trash blowhard we’ve come to know and love from Eastbound & Down.

There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to make fun of themselves and their career missteps, referencing better left forgotten movies like Your Highness and The Green Hornet. It’s Craig Robinson (who co-starred with Rogen in Pineapple Express and Zack and Miri Make a Porno), however, who stands out amongst this ensemble of raunch-stars. When he isn’t leading a chorus of celebrities in a singalong of “Take your panties off,” Robinson is delivering the film’s most ridiculous bits of dialogue.

If there’s a villain in This is the End it’s Jonah Hill, who’s “real-life” counterpart is an earring-wearing, two-faced douchebag who pretends to like Jay but secretly prays for his demise. The emotional core of the film is Jay and Seth’s friendship, which is tested throughout the film’s 106-minute descent into apocalyptic absurdity. Sure it’s a movie about the end of the world, but it’s also a story about friends growing apart and ultimately finding forgiveness and redemption.

This is the End feels like the demonic offspring of Superbad, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, and Cabin in the Woods. Goldberg and Rogen’s directorial debut is one of my favorite films of 2013, and the funniest, most satisfying comedies I’ve seen in years. See it on opening weekend June 12th with a packed house and prepare yourself for side-splitting insanity.


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