Based upon Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen’s short movie Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse, This is the End focuses on Canadian Comedian Baruchel as he visits his old friend Rogen in Los Angeles. Much to Baruchel’s dismay, Rogen takes him to a party at James Franco’s house. The party itself is just an excuse for scriptwriters Rogen and Even Goldberg (Superbad) to treat us to a seemingly-endless stream of celebrity cameos. These range from the ingenius (a coke-addled Michael Cera, an incredulous Christopher Mintz-Plasse) to the unremarkable (Kevin Hart, Martin Starr, Aziz Ansari) to the completely pointless (erm…Rihanna). Then the apocalypse comes and the party is left with just six guests- Rogen, Baruchel, host Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny Mcbride, and Craig Robinson. And so it begins.
The first thing to warn is that if you are unfamiliar with any of these actors or the movies starring them, it’s probably best to watch something else. Thankfully, if you’ve watched any of the comedy movies released since 2007, you should be somewhat familiar with these people, but if you’re not…There are so many references to the cast’s former projects that there’s a danger of much of the script being completely indecipherable to the uninitiated, with many scenes, such as a drawn-out Pineapple Express 2 sequence, assuming viewer’s prior knowledge and appearing a tad egotistical.
With such a frenetic cast, there is bound to be some weaker material and on many occasions Rogen and Goldberg seem content to plunder easy laughs. This is particularly evident in the ludicrous ‘Exorcism of Jonah Hill’, which is just more desperate than funny. And, to be honest, any movie that features a dog-lead sporting Channing Tatum as a cannibalistic Danny Mcbride’s gimp could clearly aim higher. And, while we’re on that subject of cheap laughs, we’re also treated to an incredibly unfunny ending, complete with the most annoying musical cameo since Wilson Phillips in Bridesmaids.
So, it’s patchy as hell, but for every one joke that falls flat there are five that work, and when they hit, they’re terrific. A sub-plot featuring Jay Baruchel’s irrational hatred of Jonah Hill is priceless, and eventually provides an unexpected payoff, while a despicable Danny McBride steals many of the best lines (when informed of Michael Cera’s death, he replies ‘well at least it’s not a total disaster’). Even a tasteless scene where the cast discuss who would rape Emma Watson first is unfortunately hysterical.
Overall, whether you find This Is The End funny ultimately depends on whether you consider an A-List celebrity urinating in his own mouth hysterical. If you do, get to the cinema. If not? Maybe stay at home. It’s nowhere near as good as the cast’s finest achievements like Knocked Up or Superbad, and it could, and perhaps should, have been a hell of a lot better, but it’s a decent effort nonetheless.