Watching actors play heightened and exaggerated versions of themselves has a strangely charming and wildly entertaining allure about it. For years the hilarious self-referential and self-deprecating television comedy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, has revelled in overstating celebrity idiocy. Larry David’s absurd take on the ‘art imitating life’ premise is the only iteration of ‘reality television’ that I can stomach. To be clear, This is the End certainly isn’t ‘art’ but this insanely funny in-joke is the comedy highlight of the year to date. Adam Sandler and associates please take note (or stop all together).
Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen (playing themselves) intend on reconnecting their ‘bromance’ over a weekend of gaming, fast food and other ‘illegal’ paraphernalia. But Rogen secretly hopes to drag a reluctant Baruchel to party with the rest of Hollywood’s comedy elite at James Franco’s arty mansion. While at the party we’re presented with a litany of cameos including Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Rihanna, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Aziz Ansari and Kevin Hart to name a few. But when God decides to beckon the dawn of the apocalypse, the party abruptly ends in devastating and hysterical fashion.
Quite conveniently God allows enough time for Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Jonah Hill (Super Bad), Craig Robinson (The Office) and Danny McBride (Pineapple Express) to survive just long enough for a chance to prove their heavenly worthiness.
While certainly no comedy classic, and unlike other comedians (Sandler), this team of comedians don’t rest on their laurels and aim to deliver an oddly warm, imaginative and oft-hilarious ride. There are sections that drag and jokes (mostly delivered by McBride) that cross the line, but a genuine spirit of fun and comradery prevent the film from ever truly loosing its momentum.
Writer, director and star Seth Rogen, along with his sidekick Evan Goldberg, have also gone to great lengths to ensure that no one’s ego is left unblemished and each actor seems to delight in their opportunity for self-mockery.
Those familiar and already on-board with these guys’ previous efforts will find endless opportunities to laugh uncontrollably for the vast majority of this film. A lot of the humour centres on drugs, male genitalia and pop culture and might make you question why your sides hurt so much. But guilty pleasures aside; the film succeeds largely because everyone appears to be having a blast making this film. Its transparency is both ridiculously fun and irresistibly infectious.