This Is the End
dir-scr Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
prd Evan Goldberg, Lawrence Grey, Seth Rogen, James Weaver
with Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Rihanna, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Paul Rudd
release US 12.Jun.13, UK 28.Jun.13
13/US Sony 1h47
This Is the End
Stop Jonah! Franco, McBride, Robinson, Baruchel and Rogen

hill watson cera
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
This Is the End Rogen and Goldberg make the jump to directing with this riotously self-referential apocalyptic comedy. Like Pineapple Express, it's essentially a stoner comedy that plays knowingly with male relationships, finding some surprising resonance amid the relentless nuttiness. And it also stirs in continual in-jokes about filmmaking, since they're all playing themselves.

When Jay arrives in L.A., his friend Seth has a blinding session of weed and videogames planned before they head to a starry party at James' house. Then a massive earthquake engulfs the city in fiery chaos, leaving Seth, Jay and James boarded up in the house with Jonah, Craig and Danny. As the days pass, their friendships are sorely strained. Jay hates this Hollywood scene. Danny can't stop eating all the food. And Jonah is just too nice for words. Until he's possessed by a fiery demon.

Yes, this is the actual apocalypse, as seen in the Book of Revelation, with marauding devils demolishing the streets, plus loads of big-name cameos (most notably a hilariously spiky Watson). But it's the shifting dynamic between our six survivors that makes the film so enjoyable. These are pampered actors who are horrified by real violence, which threatens the hierarchy between them. And every scene gives them an opportunity to poke fun at their own personas and careers.

Most of their movies get a pointed gag, from 127 Hours to Green Hornet. And during their quarantine they even make a hysterical Pineapple Express sequel (but they decide against Your Highness 2). Cera's cameo is especially amusing, poking fun at rumours of his off-screen diva-like behaviour. And at the centre there's a terrific bromance between Rogen and Baruchel as long-time friends who have grown apart for a variety of reasons.

Technically, the film is a mixed bag of cheesy backdrops and more impressive creature effects. The characters spend much of the time running around, bouncing off each other in a goofy slapstick style, while the rapid-fire, improv-style dialog throws so many jokes at us that some of them can't help but elicit a sudden explosion of laughter. Yes, it's utterly stupid, but it's also consistently funny and surprisingly sweet too. And perhaps the nicest thing about the film is how these guys are so happy to reveal their man-love, right to the staggeringly corny finale.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, innuendo, drugs 16.May.13

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