Release date: June 12, 2013 Director: Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg
This Is The End is the first must-see mainstream comedy of the year. This film marks the directorial debut of Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, who have previously written several films together, including Superbad and Pineapple Express.
The film opens as Seth Rogan meets Jay Baruchel at the airport for a reunion. They spend most of the day smoking weed and playing video games on Rogen’s 3D television. When Seth suggests that they attend a party at James Franco’s new house that night, Jay is hesitant because he isn’t so fond of Seth’s circle of friends, particularly Franco and Jonah Hill.
When they arrive, Franco greets both of them with open arms and welcomes them in to his lavish new home, which is full of original artwork by Franco himself – including a large ceramic penis and a monument to Rogan. The party is full of celebrities, including Aziz Ansari, Rhianna, Emma Watson, and a cocaine snorting Michael Cera who Jay catches in the middle of a graphic threesome in Franco’s bathroom. Craig Robinson is present, and entertains the party by playing a song called “Take Yo Panties Off” on the piano. Many of the attendees find Jay to be quiet and awkward, accusing him of being a hipster. The sensitive, recent Oscar nominee Jonah Hill attempts to include Jay, who lets himself out to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Seth follows him to the local convenience store.
And that’s when it happens.
A huge earthquake is followed by several beams of light which come down from the sky, sucking certain individuals into the heavens, and leaving others behind – including most of the people at Franco’s party. Jay and Seth run back to tell the others what they have seen. Several buildings are blown to smithereens and burnt to the ground, and the earth suddenly begins to break and crumble beneath them, creating a huge sinkhole that leads to a fiery abyss. Several partiers fall into the pit, including Rhianna and Aziz Ansari. Michael Cera is graphically impaled. Seth, Jay, Craig, and Jonah all barricade themselves in Franco’s house, while an apocalypse of Biblical proportions takes place outside.
As the film progresses, they will encounter an evil Danny McBride, an ass-kicking Emma Watson and Satan’s minions, demonic possession, and a bedtime encounter between Jonah Hill and Satan himself, clearly inspired by Rosemary’s Baby. Later on in the film, there is a side-splitting cameo from Channing Tatum that is worth the price of admission alone. The latter half of the film is dedicated to the group of friends, as they try to redeem themselves by committing selfless acts, in order to earn a seat in Heaven.
This Is The End is a largely improvised meta-experiment that works wonderfully, in that most of the actors play exaggerated versions of themselves. This leads to consistent hilarity. The laughs are literally non-stop from start to finish. The dialogue is sharp and witty, full of the usual pop-culture references and inside jokes concerning the film industry and personalities of the actors involved. It is also incredibly irreverent and vulgar, with a tender message of friendship tucked beneath all of the ejaculation jokes and full-frontal appearances of a well-endowed Satan.
I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. So far, this is the best comedy that I have seen all year, and I highly recommend it to those of you who aren’t easily offended. I look forward to Seth Rogan’s next directorial project, as this was an incredible debut.
Adam is a hardcore film fanatic. Some would call him a film snob. They’re probably right. He's been writing film reviews for as long as he can remember, and it is truly one of his passions. Aside from writing film reviews, he is also a screenwriter. He's written two shorts in the last year, one of which he plans to shoot in the spring of 2013. His favorite filmmakers are Stanley Kubrick, Terrence Malick, Ingmar Bergman, Michael Haneke, and David Lynch – simply too many to list here.