(This is the End. 104 minutes.Rated R (Profanity, Sexual Content, Violence, Drugs, Nudity) Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Criag Robinson. Written and Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Columbia Pictures.)
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and company have made the raunchiest, rudest and rawest film I have ever seen. It’s also very funny.
Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco and their fellow celebrity buddies portray parodies of themselves in a film with a simple plot. Jay comes to LA to visit his pal Seth, who invitees him to a party at James Franco’s house. Reluctantly he agrees and after some awkward moments with Franco, a passive aggressive Jonah Hill and party animal Craig Robinson all hell breaks loose -literally. It seems the apocalypse has arrived and after dispatching many of the recognizable party guests the remainders hole up in the house and fight amongst themselves as the end draws near.
This is juvenile humor done by guys who delightfully exploit it without realizing how limited the genre is. Rogen and his merry pranksters are not subtle so we are treated to sight gags and verbal battles that takes everything over the top. If this were a “real” story with “real” characters we would be appalled at their actions but the film gets away with it’s Richard Pryor level of shocking offenses because of the obvious wink to the audience that it’s all a put on and put down of the stars vanity. It’s just so outrageous you can’t take any of it seriously. It’s like being privy to a drunken bull session where these guys toss around ideas for their own amusement and it ends up on film.
It’s also takes a swipe at the way the trashy tabloids have depicted them to advantage. Michael Cera- who by all accounts is a sweet heart is portrayed as a sex addled, coke head whose demise is perhaps the highlight of the film. Meanwhile Danny McBride plays up the image of the bad boy to antagonistic perfection.
Between the clever action scenes the story drags a bit and the jokes wear thin when the boys have to deal with the reality around them. Rogen and Goldberg probably should not have used the weighty apocalypse metaphor in a comedy that is essentially about arrested teenagers unable to confront their fear of women, sex and latent homosexuality in close male friendships. It’s very witty when the barbs are aimed at such subjects as the etiquette of masturbation but fails when dealing with larger philosophical matters.