Review: 'This Is The End'

By: Heather Seebach

This Is The End stars Hollywood funnymen Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride as themselves. In this meta apocalyptic comedy, doomsday arrives while the actor-comedians are partying at Franco's house, and they forced to survive together under one roof. Their friendships are tested, as are their very souls.

Buddy-stoner movies like Pineapple Express are not my favorite sub-genre of comedy, but this latest Rogen/McBride/Franco collaboration offers a little something extra to which I can relate - horror! Yes, it is still a buddy-stoner movie, but it has more in common with Ghostbusters than Your Highness. Furthermore, it is written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the duo behind the hilarious and wonderful, Superbad. Given all these credentials, my hopes were pretty high. So high, in fact, that the film sadly did not live up - at least not yet.

Upon initial viewing, I suspected This Is The End would get funnier each time I watched it. A second viewing confirmed that it did indeed. Still, many jokes fall flat, which seems to be a result of the dialogue being half-improvised. Too often it feels like the guys are just goofing around, and while that sounds awesome, it does not always work. However, two actors do absolutely steal the movie - Michael Cera, in a too-small cameo, and the ever-perfect asshole, Danny McBride. I would have happily watched either of those fellas for two hours. 

I was very excited for the horror-centric portion of the movie, but the Christian theme is too heavy and the FX too computer-generated. Turns out the best parts of the film happen before the shit even hits the fan. Tons of cameos and people we love acting like vapid celebutards is a real treat to watch. Sadly, these drop off once the apocalypse begins. Once the cast dwindles down to just the main six, the more emotional side of the story kicks in - one of friendship, faith, and selflessness. It's a noble attempt at heartfelt comedy, but it never really sticks the landing. The highlights continue to be the in-jokes and the dirty bits that work (a jerk-off exchange between Franco and McBride had me crying with laughter).

This Is The End cannot compare to higher-end comedies like Superbad or Bridesmaids, but it has enough likable actors and funny lines to amuse just about anyone who digs crude humor. It was not the golden horror-comedy I hoped for but it's still an entertaining flick that will undoubtedly get funnier with time and quoting among friends.

 This Is The End is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Special features include commentary with Rogen and Goldberg, plus featurettes "Directing Your Friends" and "This is the Marketing." Click below to get it from Amazon and support VDA!

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