Writers/Directors: Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and Danny McBride
Seth Rogen waits at the terminal at LAX for Jay Baruchel to deplane. After quick hello’s Jay reveals his unease with Los Angeles and the people Seth is hanging-out with. Later at Seth’s condominium they enjoy a coffee table full of Jay’s favorite things: weed, beer, Starbursts, and other junk food. Once the goodies are exhausted Seth drops a bomb-shell on Jay, they’re heading to James Franco’s house for a party. Though initially reluctant to attend, Seth convinces Jay to go.
At Franco’s party Jay runs into the who’s who of young actors in Hollywood and Judd Apatow films. He has a heated discussion with Franco about art, and eventually retreats outside to the pool deck for some cigarettes. When Jay runs out of smokes he grabs Seth and they head to the local convieneance store for some more. At the store all hell breaks loose. The earth shakes, sink holes appear, cars crash, and building explode. It’s the End-of-Days and Seth & Jay run back to Franco’s house to ride out the storm.
With the exception of Michael Cera–I hope–and Jonah Hill, to an extent, all the name actors in the film are playing exaggerated and stereotypical versions of themselves and go along for the ride in making fun of themselves.
Franco as Franco designed his own house, painted most of the paintings in the house, and plays-up rumors of his sexuality–there is giant penis sculpture in the house and Danny McBride calls-out Franco for sucking cock when he appears with toothpaste on his mouth. Rogen is confronted by a paparazzi at the airport who calls him out for always playing the same role. Baruchel balks at being called a hipster even after being presented with evidence of all the things that do make him a hipster.
As the six (Baruchel, Rogen, Franco, Hill, Robinson, and McBride) come to terms with what has happened and why they survived, they are faced with the harsh reality of who they are as people, and what they have to do to survive. It’s a journey of self-discovery that involves a lot of crude humor, funny cameos, and Emma Watson robbing the boys of their supplies with an ax.
The success of the film lies both in the well written script by Rogen & Evan Goldberg, and the fun everyone is having playing themselves. All the actors are more than willing to make fun of themselves. And in the case of Michael Cera and another completely surprising cameo, go above and beyond the call of duty.
Unexpected homages to Rosemary’s Baby, Mad Max, and other films abound. The special effects are surprisingly impressive for a film most people will classify as a Frat-Boy movie.
This Is the End is a film that hits all its target. It is funny, smart, engaging, well made, and, in the end, has a good message. It is also proof positive that just because your target audience is young males doesn’t mean that that will be your only audience.
Grade = A