What’s worse than going to a party with a bunch of people you hate? Being stuck with those people as the Apocalypse rages outside. The latest movie to tackle the end of the world is also one of the greatest stoner comedies I’ve seen and another bromance from the writing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who brought audiences “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express”.
The film begins with Jay Baruchel flying in from Canada to the far away land of Los Angeles to spend some quality time with his estranged best friend, Seth Rogen. Their friendship isn’t quite what it used to be thanks to Seth’s Hollywood friends, diets, and lifestyle and Jay’s reluctance to those changes. Soon Seth is dragging Jay to a party at James Franco’s new house that is filled to the brim with booze, drugs, and obnoxious celebrities. (Including a coked out, deviant Michael Cera.) Jay’s evening seems like it couldn’t possibly get any worse until the End begins. In an instant, the world shakes, giant sinkholes open up that lead to a pit of fire and all the good people of Earth are sucked up into Heaven by beams of light. Jay and Seth decide to take refuge at James Franco’s party along with Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and a psychopathic Danny McBride. Together this group of unlikely survivors must work together to fight off starvation, demon monsters, cannibals, and ultimately stay alive long enough to find a way out of Hell on Earth and into the express way of light to Heaven.
Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen step up from their usual writing and acting gigs to also direct “This is the End” and bring their usual stoner flair to the film. Although unlike their previous works, this film relies on a decent number of special effects and for the most part they all work well. The cast includes Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and Danny McBride all playing exaggerated versions of themselves but this means that if you usually dislike their onscreen persona’s then this might not be for you. Additional celebrities who show up as themselves in cameo appearances include Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segal and a few others I wouldn’t dream of spoiling.
Rogen and Goldberg’s movies always seem to run a little long and lose their steam in the middle but I was happy to see that for the most part, “This is the End” kept things moving along pretty quickly. Granted there were a few scenes that seemed to go on a bit too long but never long enough to make me want to look at my watch. It’s not a perfect movie by any regard but I honestly can’t remember laughing so much in a movie in awhile. The jokes aren’t for everyone but there’s something about seeing a bunch of scared comedians fighting a demon with a rather large, swinging….um… appendage that clicked with me (and seemingly everyone else in the theater too). So board up the windows, grab a Milky Way, get your buddies together and settle in for a hell of a good time.