This movie is a self-indulgent exercise built on a one-joke
premise…but it made me laugh from start to finish. Writer-directors Seth Rogen
and Evan Goldberg take their ideas so far beyond the norms of propriety, so
ridiculously past the point of commonplace movie raunchiness, that you have
only two choices: walk out or surrender to them. Although my tolerance for gross-out
humor is normally low, I found this movie’s take-no-prisoners attitude oddly
Much of this has to do with the likability of the stars, who
play fictionalized, in some cases wildly exaggerated, versions of themselves. The
conceit of Seth Rogen as Seth Rogen, James Franco as James Franco, et al,
immediately establishes the tone of the movie—a giant inside joke where nothing
is meant to be taken too seriously. When a party at Franco’s ultra-modern house
in the Hollywood Hills takes a terrible turn it’s not just the outrageousness
of the story point—an apocalyptic incident that may spell the end of
humanity—but the way the characters respond to it that makes it funny.
Every time you think they’ve stretched this as far as they
can go, Rogen and Goldberg go farther. Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig
Robinson, Danny McBride, and even Emma Watson (!) hold nothing back, along with
a gaggle of other stars in often-fleeting appearances.
This is the End
manages to make fun of egotism and self-absorption, Hollywood high life, false
friendships, greed, religious beliefs, and more. It won’t be everybody’s cup of
tea; I didn’t think it would appeal to me, in fact, but I bought into it hook,
line and sinker.