This is The End-680
Photo by Suzanne Hanover, SMPSP - © 2012 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
This movie is a self-indulgent exercise built on a one-joke premise…but it made me laugh from start to finish. Writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg take their ideas so far beyond the norms of propriety, so ridiculously past the point of commonplace movie raunchiness, that you have only two choices: walk out or surrender to them. Although my tolerance for gross-out humor is normally low, I found this movie’s take-no-prisoners attitude oddly disarming.

Much of this has to do with the likability of the stars, who play fictionalized, in some cases wildly exaggerated, versions of themselves. The conceit of Seth Rogen as Seth Rogen, James Franco as James Franco, et al, immediately establishes the tone of the movie—a giant inside joke where nothing is meant to be taken too seriously. When a party at Franco’s ultra-modern house in the Hollywood Hills takes a terrible turn it’s not just the outrageousness of the story point—an apocalyptic incident that may spell the end of humanity—but the way the characters respond to it that makes it funny.

Every time you think they’ve stretched this as far as they can go, Rogen and Goldberg go farther. Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and even Emma Watson (!) hold nothing back, along with a gaggle of other stars in often-fleeting appearances.

This is the End manages to make fun of egotism and self-absorption, Hollywood high life, false friendships, greed, religious beliefs, and more. It won’t be everybody’s cup of tea; I didn’t think it would appeal to me, in fact, but I bought into it hook, line and sinker.