Sweeping privacy breaches by the NSA, tornadoes at every turn, the spawning of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West — maybe this really is the end of the world. If it is, let’s hope we can find the good humor exhibited by This is the End, the latest Seth Rogen joint.
Several years ago, Rogen and Jay Baruchel made a short film called Jay and Seth vs. the Apocalypse. Technically, it wasn’t even a short film; it was just a trailer. Back when Rogen could get movies made by snapping his fingers, he and his writing partner Evan Goldberg pitched this idea, got the money, and here we are. And it’s actually a pretty damn funny movie.
The actors play themselves during the Biblical End Times. Baruchel and Rogen go to a party at James Franco’s new house, and a giant sinkhole opens up in the ground, swallowing (in alphabetical order) Aziz Ansari, Michael Cera, Kevin Hart, Mindy Kaling, McLovin from Superbad, Rihanna, possibly Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. The only survivors: Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and maybe Emma Watson.
The idea could not be simpler: What would our perceptions of these guys do if the world had days to live? Well, they’d smoke a lot of pot, obviously. But McBride emerges as an antagonist and he and Franco have a showstopping meltdown over masturbation. Baruchel is the film’s conscience, seeing the events for what they really are and trying to rally the group to get along and be prepared.
This is the End finally gives Rogen a vehicle to cash in on his promise. When Judd Apatow writes for him, it’s usually pretty good. When he writes with Goldberg (Pineapple Express and Superbad), it can be really entertaining. This brings it all together for him — it’s a giant, raunchy comedy with his best friends. And his best buds.