Review: This Is The End

2013/06/11 20:41:31 +00:00 | Monte Yazzie

Society is saturated with celebrity. Look no further than the amount of “followers” on social media pages and ratings for reality programming for evidence. Writer / director combo Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen take this fascination to the extreme with This Is The End, placing a slew of recognizable personalities amidst the apocalypse. Based on a short film Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse, Goldberg and Rogen inject their film with self-deprecating hilarity and humorous horror set-ups.

The film begins with actor Jay Baruchel coming to Los Angeles to visit his longtime pal Seth Rogen. After some “herbal” recreational assisting re-acquaintance, Rogen suggests an evening house party at James Franco’s Hollywood Hills mansion. Baruchel is tentative, annoyed by the Hollywood scene and lifestyle, but begrudgingly goes. Franco’s party is littered with recognizable faces, most poking fun of each other’s professional work or playing their characters to extremes in the instance of Michael Cera’s scene stealing gags. Baruchel leaves the party frustrated and is followed by a pleading Rogen to return. A booming blast sounds and beams of blue light grab unsuspecting people, pulling them towards the sky. Chaos ensues, consuming numerous people in a swallowing pit. Rogen and Baruchel retreat to the confines of Franco’s home fortress, awaiting rescue along with Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson.

The film relies heavily on the consequent personalities all these characters have established for themselves in prior films. Baruchel as the awkward nerd, Rogen as the unaware slacker, and Danny McBride as the abusive egocentric are noticeable personas throughout. This self-aware method of comedy, in the hands of these actors, offers an amusingly comical twist on the familiar “end of the world” scenario. Watching normal people mock themselves at the onslaught of Armageddon is far less funny than watching movie stars play extreme imitations of identities the public associates with them.

Though the acting is fairly straightforward, as most are playing alterations of past characters, the contingent have a charming chemistry amidst their expletive laced tirades and bromantic endearments. There are a few moments when the film stalls, this mostly caused by the incorporation of the same joke done too many times over. Also, as the film shifts more horrific midway, some of the comedy is awkwardly forced by focusing on breaking up the tension. It can become a difficult task of keeping the narrative shifts coherent while allowing the comedic aspects room to remain. Still, the sideways view of celebrity, and the integration of character insecurities and surface facades, allows Goldberg and Rogen opportunity to transition when the film seems to become complaisant.

This Is The End is a funny, at times hysterical, extreme caricature of the celebrity lifestyle interwoven within the event of the biblical apocalypse. The strong ensemble cast holds the film together even when the jokes become somewhat stale. And, though the film isn’t always successfully balanced, the positive overshadows the negative in this brash and clever horror-infused comedy.

Film Score: 4/5