The stoner movie to end all stoner movies – literally. Seth Rogen’s latest is a drug, alcohol, sex and Milky Way-fuelled comedy blowout with apocalyptic bite as he sends up himself, his friends and the celebrity LA lifestyle.
Revolving around a housewarming party thrown by James Franco, played with a indulgent, knowing egotistism by, erm, James Franco, Rogen and his celebrity buddies (Franco, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and Danny McBride) find themselves literally at ground zero during the end of the world. No, not a faux-Roland Emmerich style disaster end of the world – this is the real deal: Armageddon, Old Testament style! Suffice to say the star-packed party goers are overlooked by the rapture but their numbers are thinned out drastically and gruesomely as all Hell breaks loose. In these brief moments crammed to the art-adorned rafters with celebrity comedy cameos, Michael Cera stands out both in his portrayal and his exit but Emma Watson comes close to stealing the entire movie in a surprise boomerang cameo.
The joy of being able to make a film with your bestest buds shines through every frame of this lewd, crude masterpiece and none of the main cast are asked to hold back, with something approaching 50% of the dialogue improvised in the finished project. But this is a vanity project without a shred of vanity, as each of them chew up the scenery with gusto and seek to outdo each other in terms of flawed personalities and just pure gross-out madness. Surely no other film could justify or sustain Franco and McBride’s increasingly heated debate or where it is and isn’t okay to jerk off during a survival situation.
Make no mistake, this is a film which doesn’t skimp on the dick and fart jokes and leaves no opportunity for coarseness unexplored but “This Is The End” works just as well as an apocalyptic horror film. The special effects are great and there are plenty of thrills and frights with more than a few good jump scares – including one that made most of the audience jump (and me yelp out loud).
Despite the action and horror, though, “This Is The End” has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek at all times. It’s a hugely likeable, gratuitously violent, foul-mouthed comedy horror which is far far better than it has any right to be. Seth and his co-stars’ genuine relationships infuse the film with a bawdy confidence that’s impossible to resist. And you just know there’s going to be a phenomenal set of bloopers and deleted scenes on the (hopefully “unrated” edition) Blu Ray release.