Left-behind actors meet the apocalypse in riotous, raunchy comedy
This Is The End
Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill & Craig Robinson
Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogan
R, 107 min.
Released June 12, 2013
Relentlessly raunchy but riotously funny, here’s the movie that answers a question you probably never asked: What would happen if the apocalypse came and a bunch of egotistical pothead Hollywood actors were left behind to stew and chew and on their fate?
That’s the premise of “This Is The End,” in which Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jay Baruchel portray hyper-fictionalized versions of themselves, caught in the aftermath of Armageddon and holed up in Franco’s fortress-like mansion.
There, as the madness rages outside, they squabble about their dwindling provisions, consume massive quantities of hallucinogenic drugs, discuss their movies, carve up their petty professional and personal differences, and eventually get around to confronting the larger situation they may be facing, like if they’re going to heaven or hell and how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be three things at once, like Neapolitan ice cream.
But do not be mistaken: This is no Sunday school picnic. It’s adults-only, stoner comedy at its most extreme, straining hard to make sure every icky, grody, envelope-pushing “ewww” of its R rating is covered.
Everything about it is over-the-top, almost off-the-charts profane. But it’s also funny as…well, hell, especially for anyone who’s enjoyed any of the actors’ other comedic collaborations, in their various combinations, including “Pineapple Express,” “Superbad,” “Tropic Thunder” and “Knocked Up.”
Rogen co-wrote and directed, and he’s packed his movie with cameos by a host of his buddies, including Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Channing Tatum and Aziz Ansari. There’s an appearance by pop singer Rihanna, and Emma Watson crops up as another survivor who bashes her way with an ax into the casa de Franco.
There are nutso, jack-in-the-box surprises around every corner, and Rogen takes his metaphysical meltdown all the way up to the pearly gates and beyond, where his vision of the afterlife includes even more craziness.
As the cast runs from demons and makes cracks after cracks in the Earth have swallowed up their friends, they pause to ponder their lives—and why they haven’t been beamed up in the shafts of blue light that have taken the “faithful” to their reward.
“Maybe He made a mistake and left us behind by accident!” Robinson says. “We’re actors!” adds Franco defensively. “We bring joy to people’s lives!”
The joy of “This Is The End” is in watching the frantic antics of actors who can’t possibly be as shallow, spoiled or warped in real life as the versions of themselves they’re playing on screen—and in knowing that the only real danger in this devilishly degenerated doomsday is that you might die laughing.
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