This Is The End Review: Drugs, D*ck Jokes, And The Apocalypse

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This Is The End Review: Drugs, D*ck Jokes, And The Apocalypse

By TK | Film Reviews | June 14, 2013 | Comments ()


There's a bracing simplicity to This Is The End. It's a film that is utterly without depth, nuance, or subtlety. To top that, there's also a somewhat embarrassing sense of self-indulgence to it. How could there not be? The film is written and directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, and it stars Rogen and all of their close friends -- Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride -- as well as a host of other well-known actors, all playing themselves. There's an element of "look how much we've made it" to the whole thing that, at first glance, feels arrogant and distasteful.

And that feeling would be easy to maintain, except that there's also a brutal element of self-parody to the film as well that makes the entire endeavor much more palatable. It's far from a perfect movie, but it is an enjoyable, often hilarious diversion. This Is The End tells the story of Baruchel coming to visit Rogen in LA, where they hope to reconnect after a lifelong friendship strained by the distance between them and Baruchel's claims that Rogen is going Hollywood a bit too much. They end up at a party at Franco's ridiculously opulent pad, where the likes of Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Michael Cera, David Krumholtz, and a dozen others are drinking and drugging the night away...

... until the Apocalypse hits. Amusingly enough, it's the real deal here. Rapture, demons, the Devil, all of it. In a matter of minutes, Hollywood is destroyed and the main players find themselves holing up in the remnants of Franco's house, trying to survive and figure out what to do. What follows is an oft-predictable set of hijinks and conflicts, over food, over what the plan is, over who's in charge, etc., etc. Sure, the film parodies several disaster films, but what makes it work is that ultimately, it's really parodying the actors themselves, and it does so with a certain wicked, self-effacing glee that's hard not to appreciate. Each actor plays a sort of dumbass version of themselves, loosely based on the characters that they've each come to be known for in one fashion or another. Robinson is shrill and high-strung, Franco's a smug, pretentious douchebag with an uncomfortable man-crush on Rogen born out of their time in Pineapple Express, Hill is a smarmy, fake-seeming dimwit, Rogen is a rather loud simpleton, and so on and so forth. There's constant conflict between the group as they try to establish a pecking order, while also simultaneously dealing with their own, pre-fire-from-the-sky conflicts, and it's often played with very funny results.

It's all pretty much exactly what you're expecting it to be, and your enjoyment of it will depend on both your prior enjoyment of these particular actors' efforts as well as your appreciation of the spectacular levels of self-abasement that they're willing to sink themselves to. The party at the beginning is an excellent appetizer, making the actors all seem like self-centered twits with bizarre predilections (and if you've ever wanted to see Michael Cera participate in hysterically awkward and unpleasant drug-fueled sexual escapades, then you're in luck). But it's once the shit hits the fan and they're all trapped together that the film works best. The rapport between the actors is genuine and often heartfelt, even when they're playing it up to its most idiotic heights.

The down side is, there's a thick fog of satirical bro-love over the whole thing that sometimes forces the film to its knees, and some moments when you've simply had enough and want them to maybe advance the story a little bit, though. And that's probably one of the film's fundamental weaknesses is that there really isn't much of a story. It's based on an old short that Baruchel and Rogen made called Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse, and turning a 85 second fake trailer into a full-length film isn't easy. As is often the case with their films, it feels more like they had a bunch of sketch ideas and mashed them together into a film and then dressed it up with the barest hint of an actual plot. And given the level of silliness that they're going for, that's mostly OK. The problem is that when there's no story to really pay attention to, the jokes that fall flat are that much more glaring, and there are indeed plenty of jokes that fall flat.

Yet the film is bolstered by the genuine enthusiasm of the cast -- particularly Robinson and McBride as the obnoxious, blustering oaf that we've come to appreciate -- and several of the cameos are a genuine scream, especially the genius and too-short appearance of Emma Watson. She gave us this, which we should be eternally in her debt for:


The relentless crudity of the humor is certainly not going to work for everyone, and much like most of their movies (not counting the more serious fare like 50/50), there's little there for women to do (other than Watson's wonderful few minutes). And I'll confess that after the third giant demon cock (not to mention a puerile and unnecessary demon molestation scene), I was starting to roll my eyes a bit. But god damn it, for a solid 70% of its 107 minutes, This Is The End is fun. It's clever enough to carry itself through its missteps, and while I doubt I'll remember much of it in a month or two, I'll certainly remember that I had fun watching it, and chances are I'll eventually want to catch up with it again. It's crude, crass, childish, and sometimes flat-out stupid, but its impudent sense of humor and a genuinely warm sense of camaraderie are, for the most part, enough to make it an enjoyable experience.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • dreamstate

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned how much rape culture is littered through this movie. Within the first 10 minutes there was a billboard of "Ninja Rapist" and Seth Rogen being held down and "titty f**ked" by a bunch of boys. I'm all for dick jokes and sophomoric humor. However, as a woman that has been sexually abused my men, I am eager for entertainment media to stop finding rape funny.

  • naim

    And yet, you managed to overlook how quick they were to bring your attention to hollywood's focus on rape, and throw it to the ground. Hell, there was an entire scene talking about rape culture in the media, and most of the boys didn't even understand what Baruchel was getting at until it was spelled out. And, in an act of want her to be comfortable, it was twisted around and they, in turn, got the crap beat out of them. I'm so sick of seeing "this movie is feeding rape culture" bullshit.

  • Sidney

    You wankers should stop arguing about demon dicks and just go see it. Funniest movie of the year by far.

  • Sara S.

    Looks funny. My group of teenage friends aren't very picky when it comes to movies and I'm sure we'll have a blast.

  • I might have to check this out after all. If only for Craig Robinson, who I adore and have nothing but the best wishes for.

  • BWeaves

    I'm confused. This is NOT the end of the world movie with Simon Pegg in it.

    Why do they keep putting out movies with all the same theme?

  • mswas

    Because there's no creativity in Hollywood?

  • Justin Kuhn

    Not the same theme; "The World's End" is about reuniting with friends, drinking beer, and pod people. The title refers to the name of a bar.

  • Captain D

    I was planning to see this movie, but then realized Anna Kendrick is not in it

  • calliope1975

    I love all these guys and saw it last night. During one of the conversations about bodily fluids, I laughed so hard and for so long I couldn't breathe. I also cry when I laugh so I was pretty much wiping my face the entire movie. Apparently, I have the humor of a 12 year old boy. And I okay with that.

  • Jezzer

    "Franco’s a smug, pretentious douchebag..."

    I thought you said they were only loosely based on reality.

  • SpongebobSquarepeg

    I just downvoted you.

  • disqus_mQPW6cixfl

    "Rapture, demons, the Devil, all of it."


    That would make a great cameo.


  • Ray W.

    My god reviewer...did we watch the same movie?!?!?! James Franco wasn't smug, and the relationship stemmed from Freaks and Geeks, not Pineapple Express... hence the freaks for life reference. no spoilers but the storyline and plot are of biblical proportions... go see it again and give us a real review.

  • Robert

    Except the plot hinged on Pineapple Express for most of the movie. But, you know, technicalities always win out when you decide that a positive review isn't good enough.

    Not sure what you're getting at with the "biblical proportions" nonsense since the review says it's the apocalypse with the rapture and demons and everything. So, you know, TK says it in the review. And you bitched about it because he didn't use a stupid pun to say the same thing.

  • the_wakeful

    In TK's defense, Rogan has said in interviews that he considers this movie sort of a spiritual sequel to Pineapple Express.

  • #pedantasaurus

  • TheReinaG

    That's Mr. Predantasaurus Rex to you!

  • Apologies #redactyl

    ...but it's Pedantasaurus, no 'r'. #pedantasaurusrex

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth

    go see it again and give us a real review

    I'm not sure I understand... because of that he needs to give you a new review? From what I can tell, he actually LIKED the movie, or at least liked most of it.

  • Jezzer

    Yeah, that minor mistake just completely ruined it, because I'm sure the entire movie hinges on understanding that detail. "Wait a minute!" we'll say, "Is this giant floppy demon cock a 'Pineapple Express' giant floppy demon cock, or a 'Freaks and Geeks' giant floppy demon cock?" but we won't know for sure, and the movie-watching experience will be ruined for us.

    Also, I'm not convinced you know what "smug" means.

  • Ray W.

    The demon's comically large wanker is just added hilarity and can not be correlated to neither PE or F&G...that was a asinine attempt to be witty.

    The reviewer was giving clarity about Franco's overtly odd affection for Rogan...and his explanation was wrong. Did the mistake take away from the movie. Nope. still funny as fuck. I didn't find Franco's pride in his accomplishments one bit excessive. hence my comment of Franco not being smug. It came across like he was trying to impress Seth like a puppy doing tricks. It was kind of endearing.

  • Jezzer

    Yeah, your backpedaling doesn't erase the tone of your initial post, with the incredulous multiple punctuation opener and the shitty "go see it again and give us a real review" closer. And my reference to "smug" wasn't solely aimed at Franco.

  • Ray W.

    Backpedaling? No. My tone conveyed exactly what it was meant too in my initial post. I don't recant that the blogger was wrong. Just like in my response to you I concurred that the misinformation doesn't change the tone of, or my utter enjoyment of the movie. The devil is in the details, and the reviewer got one detail wrong. get over it.

  • Jezzer

    "My tone conveyed exactly what it was meant too [sic] in my initial post."

    Ah. See, you could have just told us at the beginning that you meant to be an asshole, and we could have simply nodded and moved on.

  • Ray W. wasn't obvious? I am an asshole. So are you.

  • Meghan

    Clearly, you're not from around here. TK is not "the reviewer". He's TK. Respect.

  • Ray W.

    I saw it. It's Dark, twisted, hilarity. I laughed so hard I cried..gasped for air then laughed again. Don't read anything about it...don't watch the trailers just go see it.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Thanks, I'm seeing this tomorrow night.

  • Fredo

    So it's a really great Saturday night movie on HBO/Spike movie then?

    If I find time to see it amidst all the Man of Steel showings, I might give it a gander.

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