The best aspect of This is the End isn’t the actual story about the apocalypse at all – it’s all the celebrities playing completely against type and willing to make utter fools of themselves. There is something very refreshing about celebrities that can laugh at themselves, such as Matt Le Blanc in Episodes or any of the multitude of actors that took part in Ricky Gervais’ Extras or Life’s Too Short.
It means the first part of this movie is fantastic, from Michael Cera being a drunken, obnoxious tool at James Franco’s party from Jonah Hill trying his best to get people to like him, there is a whole collection of funny moments and great cameos that suck you in from the outset.
These don’t relent either and when the apocalypse does happen, it comes with startlingly graphic effects and plenty of big name deaths before we’re left with our core cast of characters who have to try to survive the end of the world.
This core cast is where the movie becomes slightly hit and miss. James Franco, Seth Rogen and Craig Robinson are very funny, and play “themselves” brilliantly, if it’s an over-the-top bromance, a huge ego or just downright cowardice. Jay Baruchel, who is an almost lead to the whole film, Jonah Hill and worst of all, Danny McBride, get pretty tiresome, very quickly.
Danny McBride is the worst for this. He is supposed to be the annoying, obnoxious “friend” to the others, the kind of guy everyone knows but nobody likes, but this gets played-out in abundance and out stays its welcome. The same can be said for Baruchel’s issues with LA and Jonah Hill’s attempts to be “accepted.”
This doesn’t just apply to the characters either. The actual “story” itself feels forced and doesn’t flow as freely as the first act did. There is very little for the characters to really deal with after the initial end of the world and between each set-piece, the film can drag, waiting for the next very funny moment.
There are plenty of those though and when they do come it makes up for it. From a conversation about murdering Emma Watson to a great, surprising but brilliant cameo towards the end of the movie, some moments within the film are genius and are well worth watching for, until the movie begins to lull again.
This is the End also suffers from not knowing how to end the film either. It seems to go nowhere, with a mixed ending that relents, directionless. This is clearly an idea that was inspired by a brilliant short-film but didn’t have enough substance to fill a full feature.
Overall, This is the End has a lot of positive aspects. The cast is great in the beginning, before the apocalypse, when they get to play around with their perceived characters. When the apocalypse hits, the film falters, not really knowing where to go or what it is trying to do. There are still some great set-pieces but for the most part, it trundles on until it’s forced ending.
Rating – 3.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)