This Is The End review: supergood

MaryAnn’s quick take: I died laughing... and I’ve found a new respect for a Hollywood posse whose work I mostly haven’t enjoyed before.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): have hated much of the work this gang has done together, and much of their work on an individual basis, too
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
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Admit it: you’ve wondered, when you find yourself pondering the multifarious endtimes we’re living in, just which celebrities will survive whatever apocalypse we’re overdue for. When New York is reduced to random protons by a passing alien starfleet, which Law and Order cast members will make it out alive? When a zombie plague sweeps over London, which members of the royal family will have to destroy the diseased brains of which others in order to prevail? And when the 9.9 earthquake or crustal displacement or solar flares or the Yellowstone supervolcano takes out Los Angeles, my god, the celebrity bodycount will be unthinkable. Who among our Famous Elite will live to see the morning after?

(Actually, I see a whole series of films in this…)

Now it can be told, in the case of one particular sort of apocalypse the nature of which I will not spoil (though it could have been cleverer than it is). This Is the End is the tale of how one particular celeb posse fares over the course of one horrific night of, erm, horror and devastation and stuff blowing up and sinkholes and running low on booze and bacon, and the even more horrific days that follow.

My god, I love this movie. I, er, died laughing, unlike some of the famous people playing hilarious sendups of themselves onscreen, who just die. I did not expect this, because I am no fan of this particular posse and have found most of their films tedious and desperately unfunny. But I have a new respect for them because they very clearly do not take themselves too seriously and are not above acknowledging just how very terrible much of their output has been.

The posse is the one that has accreted around Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, writers and, here, debuting directors. They wrote Superbad and Pineapple Express and The Watch, movies that have appalled me with their idiocy, though they have not been above throwing me a curveball like The Green Hornet, which is smart and clever and which I really like. And now they have twisted into warped “reality” a story about “Seth Rogen” (Seth Rogen: 50/50, Paul) and his bestie “Jay Baruchel” (Jay Baruchel: Cosmopolis, Goon) who go to a party at the Los Angeles home of “James Franco” (James Franco: The Iceman, Oz the Great and Powerful) on the evening that all hell happens to break loose.

It’s funny because of course James Franco would be one of the celebs to survive the apocalypse. Because what can’t the guy do? It could, in fact, well be part of his latest enormous performance art project to arrange an apocalypse that he would survive in some fashion that would be meta and culturally aware and introspective and a commentary on how we fetishize celebrities. As part of his PhD in Hollywood Anthropology.

It’s funny because everyone onscreen — also including Jonah Hill (Django Unchained, 21 Jump Street) as “Jonah Hill” and Craig Robinson (Shrek Forever After, Hot Tub Time Machine) as “Craig Robinson” and Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Year One) as “Michael Cera” and Danny McBride (Your Highness, Due Date) as “Danny McBride” and many others — is poking fun at himself, at his public persona, and at the notion that it’s possible that our perception of a celebrity may be entirely different from the reality of him as an actual human being… and how the reality of him as a human being may be somewhat at odds with his ability to endure in “real life” the sorts of things he’s made a very good living pretending to endure onscreen for our entertainment. (End is mostly about guys, alas; the brief cameo by Emma Watson [the Harry Potter saga] as “Emma Watson” could have done with being meatier. But she is funny, and her presence does allow the movie a moment to contemplate how odd and even disturbing the gender imbalance in typical such cinematic scenarios is.)

It’s funny because these guys fill some postapocalypse time hunkered down in “James Franco”’s house by making terrible “sequels” to their films now that it’s clear that they’ll never get made by Hollywood thanks to the whole end-of-the-world thing. (Have you been waiting for Pineapple Express II? Here it is… shot on the camcorder from 127 Hours. “Franco” saves all his props, you see. From his good movies, too.) The delicious irony of This Is the End does not escape me: it wouldn’t be nearly as funny if I hadn’t seen — and hated — all the previous shitty movies these guys have made together. Though even everyone who loved their previous shitty movies will probably love this, too.

There’s one or two head-scratchers here, such as the one rapey joke that’s actually about rape culture and smacks it good and made me think, Wow, these guys get it… until the next rapey joke that’s just weird and icky and straight-up rapey and not-getting-it-at-all. But mostly End is sweet in ways that the oeuvre of Rogen and Goldberg has tried to be in the past and failed: “Bromance doesn’t stop for the apocalypse” is kind of a nice thing for a movie to be about. For Rogen-and-Goldberg values of “nice,” at least.

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Mon, Jun 10, 2013 1:37am

Ah, I saw the trailer for that and was greatly amused. Good to know it’s worth seeing. Not that I am going to see it, because of Things, but still.

Jonathan Roth
Jonathan Roth
Mon, Jun 10, 2013 2:22am

I’m glad to see this get such a glowing review.

I actually had it confused with the trailer for “It’s a Disaster”. After seeing that trailer, then hearing Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg talking about it on the Nerdist, i was even more pumped, expecting something along the lines of 50/50 in tone, with the dead-on celebrities poking fun at themselves humor they talked about.

So when I saw the correct trailer, I was actually disappointed.

Funny point from the interview: apparently the Pineapple Express 2 bit is even more meta. Apparently, that’s the no-kidding sequel they wanted to actually do if it ever got greenlit.

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 3:27pm

Do they finally reveal that Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg are actually the same person?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Beowulf
Mon, Jun 10, 2013 10:27pm

Jesse Eisenberg isn’t in this film, so it remains a possibility.

Tonio Kruger
Mon, Jun 10, 2013 10:43pm

They still make songs based on lyrics from Doors songs? And especially from this Doors song?!

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 3:47am

I just saw this tonight. Didn’t laugh even once. It was nothing but a dick-waving contest made by narcissistic actors who don’t know how to tickle the funny bone. I can’t believe that you laughed so hard. You must’ve grown a penis before seeing the movie. Mary, to put it to you simply: you’re a sell-out. Your license to be a feminist should be revoked.

reply to  Kelly
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 4:49am

Oh facepalm “Kelly” lighten up why dont you! Jeeze, so she liked a movie that is marketed towards men. As a guy, I love a few chick flicks here and there–but you need to get laid or something…

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Alex
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 12:20pm

Nope, you do not get to say “you need to get laid or something,” Alex. Not an appropriate response to Kelly’s comment. At all.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Kelly
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 12:19pm

I literally cannot win. Ever.

Fortunately, there is no licensing authority for feminism. Who sold you your license? Cuz you got ripped off.

And my name is MaryAnn. Not Mary. Sheesh.

reply to  Kelly
Wed, Jun 12, 2013 1:17am

So she laughed and you didn’t. So what you’re saying is she isn’t allowed to like a certain kind of movie because it’s anti-feminist, but on the contrary it simply means she has a broader understanding of humor than you. You’re not helping any cause by going around bashing other people and what they like. All it says is that you’re close minded and quick to start a fight where there is none.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Ave
Wed, Jun 12, 2013 10:23am

The movie isn’t antifeminist, though. Just because a movie features mostly male characters doesn’t mean it’s antifeminist or misogynist. Some are… but so are some movies that feature female characters, too (such as most Hollywood romantic comedies).

reply to  Kelly
Wed, Jun 12, 2013 1:37pm

Sheesh. Tell me…what flavor of ice cream do you like. Oh, really? Most people like something else. You are flat out wrong to like that. What is the matter with you? You’re not allowed to have an OPINION!

reply to  Kelly
Fri, Jun 28, 2013 7:56pm

Lighten up, Francis…PS I think we have a great ending to the next ‘crazed feminists go on a murder spree’ film. The crazy female lead, as the gun from the macho hero (played by Vin Diesel) is pointed at her head, pulls out her Feminist License and smugly exclaims, “Feministic IMMUNITY”….Vin pulls the trigger and says calmly, “It’s just been REVOKED”

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Brundlemox
Fri, Jun 28, 2013 9:28pm


If you’re suggesting that feminists should be shot in the head, then no, you do not get to say this at my site.

If you’re saying something else, better explain yourself quick.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Jul 01, 2013 8:59pm

Mary Ann,

Totally sorry if my reference made it seem like I’d ever advocate violence, especially against women (as someone who has worked with victims of sexual assault, I’m pretty to sensitive to that). I was trying to frame Kelly’s rude comment about revoking your feminist license – as if someone is the arbiter of that – within the framework of a bad 80s action movie ending (i.e. Danny Glover’s reponse to Joss Ackland’s South African villain invoking “Diplomatic Immunity” as he kills him, “IT’S JUST BEEN REVOKED”). I thought her reply was cheesy, humorless and about as anti-feminist as it gets, and I thought she needed a similarly overwrought response.

Anyway – sorry if the imagery evoked something that would indicate I would ever advocate such violence. I find people who take one’s enjoyment of art (or lack thereof) as a personal affront to be in need of many, many years of therapy, and I find myself less tolerant of that personality defect after years of reading movie forum comments.

Cheers, and sorry again about the misunderstanding – I’ll try to refrain from such nonsense in the future!


MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Brundlemox
Tue, Jul 02, 2013 12:00pm

Tone can be hard to convey in writing. So no worries!

Sam Charles Norton
Thu, Jul 04, 2013 6:35pm

Mary Ann – I almost never comment (although I read everything) but I just wanted to say that I would never have bothered with this film at the cinema if it hadn’t been for your review – and I haven’t laughed so deeply in a long, long time. So thank you.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Sam Charles Norton
Thu, Jul 04, 2013 10:44pm

So nice to hear. Thank you. Glad you had a good time.