The film’s central gimmick allows the cast’s ids to run wild.
Review by David Feltman
“Sip time. Who wants a sip?”
For a movie that has nothing to do with Judd Apatow, “This is the End” feels in every way like an Apatow movie. From the man-child humor to the whirlwind of profanity down to the typical “Apatow troupe.” The only real difference is Apatow never attempted a disaster/horror comedy.
The prime reason for the Apatow vibe is that the film is the brainchild of longtime collaborator Seth Rogen, who co-wrote, co-directed and co-stars. Rogen uses the Adam Sandler approach of cramming the film with his friends, but the film’s central gimmick (that Rogen and his friends play themselves) allows him and co-writer/director Evan Goldberg to let the cast’s ids run wild while avoiding the half-baked laziness that plagues Sandler’s later oeuvre. Cameos range from Channing Tatum to Rihanna, with a womanizing, cokehead Michael Cera serving as an unexpected scene-stealer.
The plot is admittedly non-existent. Rogen and Jay Baruchel go to a big Hollywood party at James Franco’s house when the apocalypse arrives. The cast, trapped in Franco’s house, initially keeps partying. But as circumstances become dire, Rogen and company are forced to deal with each other’s outsized egos in a Larry Davidian contest of assholery.
Though largely propelled by dick and fart jokes, Rogen and Goldberg manage to pack the film with clever movie references. “This is the End” is filled with nods to “The Exorcist,” “Ghostbuster,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Mad Max” while taking shots at Rogen’s own “The Green Hornet” and “Pineapple Express.” It’s these sorts of extra touches that keep the movie from relying too heavily on crude and brainless bacchanalia. “This is the End” is a fun summer comedy. A quick glance at the cast will tell you whether or not you’ll appreciate the humor.