Every decade has its hit-maker comedy team, the kinds of troupes producers can take to the bank and use up until the cash-cow stops milking. The ‘70s had John Belushi and Chevvy Chase, and well, so did the ‘80s, but we’ll throw Bill Murray, John Candy and Dan Aykroyd in there too. Adam Sandler and his SNL crew ruled the 1990s, while the early naughties gave us Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
Debuting at the rear-end of the naughties, the 20-teens will be remembered for Seth Rogen and co’s stoner brand of comedy. Led by their faithful producer, Judd Apatow, the rotating cast has given us Knocked Up (2007), Superbad (2007), Pineapple Express (2008) and now This Is The End.
This Is The End, not produced by Apatow and essentially a Rogen vanity project (co-written and -directed by Evan Goldberg), proves that with enough Hollywood support you can get just about any movie made – and thank god for that! Because, without overselling it, this film ruled.
Set in Hollywood, with all actors playing themselves, This Is The End is an apocalyptic cameo-fest in which Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Green Hornet) and Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up, She’s Out Of Your League), real-life best friends playing on-screen best friends, are reunited for some good old-fashioned bromance. Their weekend takes a turn for the worse when the reckoning interrupts James Franco’s (127 Hours, Pineapple Express) housewarming party.
With the end of the world in sight, the group is forced to analyse themselves and their friendships, while also attempting to survive the biblical nightmare that’s upon them. In between these larger plot points they take heaps of drugs, try not to seem too rape-y around Emma Watson and vie for Seth Rogen’s affection.
The base cast includes Baruchel, Rogen, Franco, Jonah Hill (Superbad, Moneyball), Craig Robinson (The Office, Zack And Miri Make A Porno) and Danny McBride (East Bound And Down, Tropic Thunder), however the cameo cast is dense with quality dramatic and comedic actors. Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Channing Tatum, Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari are the most note-worthy.
As first-time directors there’s a lot that could have gone wrong with this film. The plot calls for complete suspension of disbelief, insane special effects and for the actors to really push themselves to be dicks, because it’s easy to play an arsehole when you and your characters have different names. Incredibly, the film is simultaneously funny and on-task.
The ridiculous storyline manages to continue along a cohesive path, despite demons, exorcisms and cannibalism all coming in to play. The actors display complete willingness and trust in Rogen and Goldberg, and as a result give incredible and embarrassing performances. Danny McBride is a particular highlight, basically resurrecting Kenny Powers for the role. Michael Cera’s part is so brief, yet soooo good, it’s worth seeing just for his small role.
Here comes the disclaimer: This film probably isn’t for everyone. Like anything, if you’re a fan of these actors and their style of comedy you’ll love This Is The End. It’s by far one of the best films to come from this crew, and they’re universally popular for a reason. However, it’s jam-packed with stoner and jizz jokes and is incredibly sacrilegious. You’ve been warned.