You wait for one ‘end of days’ film bursting at the seams with recognisable comic talent, then two come along at once. Whilst we await for our British born cinematic slice courtesy of Pegg/Frost/Wright, our attention remains firmly on Seth Rogen’s hellish directorial debut alongside Superbad’s Evan Goldberg. Peppered with moments of self deprecation as they send up their public as well as on screen personas, ‘This Is The End’ has promised an absurd and satirical stab at the apocalypse. A self indulgent misfire weighed down by Hollywood excess? Or a stroke of no holds barred genius?
Keeping it simplistic before the mayhem ensues, Jay Baruchel’s ‘rising star’ arrives in Los Angeles to party with Rogen despite showing a clear discomfort with such extravagant surroundings . The former’s hopes of keeping proceedings within the confines of Rogen’s home are soon dashed, as Seth is invited to a house party by Mr James Franco.Not one for the party-hard celebrity lifestyle, Baruchel reluctantly agrees as Rogen attempts to embed him into his esteemed circle of friends, including the likes of Jonah Hill and Craig ‘Take Yo Panties Off’ Robinson.
Already paying host to such mischievous antics (no thanks to Michael Cera’s drug fuelled lunatic), the idea of ‘housewarming’ is taken to ridiculous heights as the surroundings of Franco’s ‘crib’ is engulfed in flames, teasing a Doomsday scenario. Claiming the lives of various famous faces in unpleasant fashion and under the illusion they will be saved first before average folk, Franco and co. are left to fight off the mysterious threat.. and each other.
The stinging remarks levelled at their own career mishaps on and off screen, topped off with a distinct lack of maturity in its unsophisticated gags that we’ve grown accustomed to in their respective works, the film is often a genuine side splitter. In turn, its deliberately heightened approach played for laughs is fittingly applied to its execution of the apocalypse. With its lashings of gore and imposing creations straight out of a B-movie that invade the screen, the film has little difficulty justifying its release in the midst of a blockbuster summer.
Its catering for inspired cameos also pays dividends, with Emma Watson’s axe wielding turn and a couple of well hidden surprises in its chaotic finale inevitably stealing the show. Not to be completely undone, the camaraderie between its star studded collective is evident from the first frame. Baruchel’s initial less flashy figure anchors proceedings efficiently as his bromance with Rogen is put to the test, juxtaposing with the exaggerated nature of his co-stars and the send-ups of particular traits (James Franco’s love of art and of Jonah Hill’s ‘nicest guy’ mere examples) in brilliant fashion.
Its one-liners may occasionally overstep the mark and the fixation on deconstructing the superficiality associated with celebrities may alienate a portion of its target audience. However in a year near devoid of quality comedy, this will inevitably be declared a saviour. Unashamedly silly yet at the same time surprisingly smart, ‘This Is The End’ is a hysterically funny delight.