Apparently, the world is ending and there is little we can do about it. Between This is the End, After Earth, Oblivion, and World War Z, there appears to be little hope for anyone of us and frankly, of those, I would rather come kicking and screaming with Seth Rogen over Jaden Smith, Tom Cruise, or Brad Pitt.
In general, movie ideas come and go in waves and the tide carries the good with the bad. The bad movies hope to hook a celebrity and gullible fans to get as much money in the first weekend before word gets out about the terrible nature of the movie; though even that could not save After Earth. The good enter the lexicons as classics and usually help to create the tide of new movies. After such a period though, you need a palate cleanser; luckily there came a spectacular one parodying the whole genre.
Like Red State by Kevin Smith, This is the End seems to be a satire of the Apocalyptic Evangelical Christian movement which is claiming that the world is ending and that only the righteous will be saved. The movie is based around a friendship between Seth Rogen (in his first directorial role with longtime writing partner Evan Goldberg) and his old friend from the Judd Apatow TV show Undeclared, Jay Baruchel. As they drift apart as friends, they are going to spend a long weekend together before Rogen pulls the two away to go to a housewarming party at James Franco’s House. While there, the biblical apocalypse happens and s**t goes down. Though initially, the party rocks on, thinking there is only an earthquake, before long it is clear that the world is ending. As the ground opens, it swallows up the celebrities leaving Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and a surprise guest to try to figure this out. I would love to give more away, but that is where the trailer ends and, thus, so will I.
What makes this movie amazing is what makes the Scary Movies terrible. In the Scary Movie franchise, there is no “satire,” but merely sketch parodies; like a bad week on Saturday Night Live. This is the End has a world and a narrative that it lives in. The characters in Scary Movies have hyperbolic parodies of actors doing roles. In This is the End, this is the gold that sells the movie.
Every character, from the main cast to the cameos, is a parody of themselves. Seth Rogen gets to be his talk show wishy-washy self, even bowing to the paparazzi with his trademark laugh. Baruchel gets to be the self-righteous character his is from his sitcom days. However, James Franco, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera take the cake. Franco, from the gay jokes he himself makes, to the insane paintings (some alluding to his other projects), is a very self-aware version of himself; combining all the worst and ridiculous things that the tabloids can say. Jonah Hill is so over the top nice, you want to kill him yourself and Michael Cera is too good of a surprise to ruin; however, even Rihanna gets to address people who say she is a willing victim of abuse by slugging the hell out of someone. Suffice it to say between Cera, Emma Watson and Channing Tatum’s cameos; the movie is worth the admission aside from being one of the best comedies I have seen all year.