The result is a somewhat confusing effort. The problem stems from the fact that “This Is the End” never legitimizes the apocalypse. While the near-Hollywood grade special effects are surprisingly effective in the context of a comedy, the overall campiness renders any dramatic stakes invalid. The apocalypse is simply a vehicle in which to place these friends that make funny movies together. In this sense, fans looking forward to a genre-bender that attains the overall quality of “Shaun of the Dead” will be disappointed.
But hey, at heart this is a comedy – and the comedy of it is great. The rat pack that includes Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and James Franco each develop a self-deprecating, fictionalized alter ego as they extrapolate on the public opinion of their personalities and flaws (A cameo by a coked-up, sex-crazed Michael Cera is perhaps some of the funniest material in a slew of seemingly endless cameos). Together, they are a misfit gang of best friends that find the hilarity in every new disaster.
In one sequence, the group stands in a circle examining the revolver – their only real form of protection. Jonah Hill playfully tosses the gun around, pretending to shoot his friends while effeminately saying “bang, bang” while the others wince and yell at him to stop. The tone of bits like this so perfectly replicate what you have to imagine these guys would be doing with or without the cameras there.
With complete creative control given to writer-directors Rogen and Goldberg for the first time, this project has significant roots in vanity. When it comes down to it, the lack of a compelling story fails to hook any emotion beyond laughter. While the plot serves only to lay the groundwork for the dialogue-heavy comedy, it is nearly impossible to deny the utter likability of this brand of satire.
“This Is the End” isn’t the defining summer comedy, but is nonetheless frequently hilarious.
US Wide Release: June 12th, 2013 / UK Wide Release: June 28th, 2013