Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“It’s Emma,” yells James Franco (as himself). “You guys are alive! Oh thank God,” replies Emma Watson (also playing herself) who’s just busted into Franco’s house during the apocalypse in the R-rated comedy film This Is The End.
Jay Baruchel (as himself) has returned to L.A. to spend some time with his best friend Seth Rogen (as himself) who he’s been feeling has been drifting away from him ever since his success in Hollywood has led him to making new LA friends. At first it’s like old times, drinking, eating fast food, and playing video games, but when Seth wants to go over to James Franco’s house-warming party Jay is reluctant. While at the party, Jay feels uncomfortable and out of his element. Finally, after running out of smokes, Jay gets Seth to go with him to the nearest 7/11 to buy some more. Suddenly, the ground shakes violently and Jay witnesses some of the shoppers being surrounded in a blue and white light from the sky and getting teleported up into the sky and disappearing from view.
Terrified, Jay and Seth run back to Franco’s place. No one at the party felt the earthquake and they think Jay’s been seeing things when he tells them about the people disappearing in the blue and white light. But when the ground shakes even more violently, everyone at the party runs outside in a panic with Franco yelling to stay inside where it’s safer. Once outside, everyone sees the Hollywood hills up in a blaze and a giant sinkhole opening up and expanding in front of Franco’s home. Many celebrities fall into the hole screaming and plummeting towards a fiery bottom. Franco gets Seth, Jonah Hill (as himself), and Craig Robinson (as himself) back inside his home which he believes will be strong enough to protect them until whatever is happening is over. Meanwhile, Jay who almost fell into the pit, has pulled himself out and seeing no better alternative joins Seth and the rest in the house. Together, the guys pool their resources including water, alcohol, cereal, pot, a camera, a gun from a movie set shoot of Franco’s, and a Milky Way candy bar which quickly leads to the guys all arguing about who gets to eat the candy bar. That’s only the first of many crisis the group will have to face together if they hope to survive the apocalypse.
This Is The End is a rude, crude, raunchy and at times extremely vulgar comedy which also happens to be the funniest, laugh-out-loud and most original comedy film this year. The movie’s cast has great chemistry, with Baruchel being the geeky moral center of the group and Franco being the way-in-over-his-head leader of the misfits. Craig Robinson is responsible for some of the biggest laughs with his reactions to all the chaos, fire and brimstone happening around and outside the house. Danny McBride is his usual crass, crude and obnoxious self with perhaps a little extra thrown in due to the cabin fever.
There are lots of hilarious scenes, including a spoof from the classic horror film The Exorcist, a chase from a very large, angry and frightening demon, and of course Emma Watson’s cameo as the apocalypse party crasher.
The script is fresh and original with some very funny twists and turns and some surprising casting cameos. And the special effects in the film look great, capturing wonderfully what the Hollywood hills engulfed in flames would look like, and the bit-by-bit destruction of Franco’s new house is extremely well done.
Perhaps the only drawback in the film is some of the jokes and scenes that not only fall flat but go too far and are sure to upset and offend some audience members. And that’s really what it comes down to as far as your decision to see This is The End goes. If you’re a fan of some of the casts earlier films, such as Pineapple Express and Superbad, then you’re sure to have a laugh-out-loud great time with Franco, Rogen, Baruchel and the rest of the gang. If you’re NOT a fan, then you might want to steer clear of this apocalyptic laugh fest.
This Is The End opens in theaters on June 12, 2013 and is rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.
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