This Is the End is an apocalyptic stoner comedy where all the actors play versions of themselves. It starts out simply enough, with Jay Baruchel coming in to L.A. to stay with Seth Rogen. Jay’s not into the L.A. lifestyle, but he gets dragged into going to a party at James Franco’s new house. There they meet Jonah Hill, who Jay swears hates him, even though it doesn’t seem to be true.
The party scene is well done, showing the audience a wealth of actors doing crazy or weird stuff. There’s plenty of little golden moments here, especially with Michael Cera. When the manure finally hits the fan blades, you get to see that despite its comedic roots, This Is the End isn’t going to be pulling any punches with its Apocalypse.
One of the strengths of This Is the End is its ability to mix humor into serious situations and make the comedy work. You’d expect that from the people connected with this film, but I’ve learned that Hollywood is always willing to disappoint.
Once the dust settles, there’s only James, Jonah, Craig, Seth, and Jay left in the house. Jay is the straight man for a lot of the film, telling the others that it’s the Biblical Apocalypse and not just a zombie one. Or so they think, until Danny McBride makes his appearance. He’s the odd man out this time around, and he and Franco have some awesomely funny arguments over everything. Danny’s that guy who you don’t want to be trapped with during the Apocalypse.
So how do these six actors deal with the Apocalypse? Not well. Not well at all. Personality conflicts that can usually either be ignored or avoided pop up between most of the characters, because they’re all trapped together. These have mostly hilarious results. I would’ve liked Emma Watson’s part to be bigger than it was because she did a great job and I think they dropped her plot thread too early.
It’s kind of strange, but the pot and drug use that you normally find in the movies along with these actors is strangely absent once the bad stuff starts. It’s not that they don’t have them, they have plenty, it just never comes up. With all the other things going on, I didn’t really miss it.
All the actors are funny, but Danny McBride is definitely one of the funnier characters, probably because he has more material to work with, being sort of the villain in the house. He has some scenes later in the film too that are just brilliant. Jonah Hill gives him a run for his money with one long bit that involves demonic possession. I wasn’t a fan of how they ended the bit, because they re-used something they’d done before. But it’s a minor quibble at best.
The boys eventually have to step out into the apocalyptic wasteland that makes up what’s left of L.A. The CGI demons and other creatures they meet are surprisingly well done, in both the sense of creature design and on-screen presentation. Lessons are learned out in the wasteland of L.A. though some people do better than others at applying that learning. The end of the movie is just as ridiculous and as funny as the rest of it.
How much you’ve enjoyed the other movies the stars of This Is the End is a good barometer of how many laughs you’ll get out of this one. What’s clear is that the actors had a fabulous time making fun of themselves and each other, which makes me wonder if we’ll see some bits that got cut on the DVD release.