This is the End–Movie Review

2 Stars

This is the End PosterIf you’ve read enough of my reviews you have probably figured out that I will forgive a movie just about anything if it is funny enough. I gave positive reviews to Borat and Ted even though both movies were pretty obnoxious just because both were hilarious.

The problem with This is the End (IMDB) is that it isn’t funny enough. There are some moments worth a chuckle but no real laugh-out-loud moments. Most of the moments are just cringe-worthy.

Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson all play themselves. Well, they play themselves if we can assume that in real life they are much more stupid and irresponsible than any of the characters they have ever played in movies. To start with they get together with a lot of other Hollywood celebrities for a decadent party at James Franco’s house.

(We’re not talking high-class Jay Gatsby decadence here. More like massive over-the-top drunken loutishness.)

Suddenly there is an earthquake and blue lights shine from the sky. A number of people are levitated up to Heaven. The earth opens and a bunch of A-list celebrities fall into a fiery pit.

Yes folks, it is the Apocalypse as predicted by the Book of Revelation (as dimly remembered by some stoned Hollywood writers.)

The Lord doth smite Los Angeles with terrible wrath for reasons that should be obvious. Seth, James, Jonah, Jay and Danny barricade themselves in James’s house and wait to be rescued. They are sure that they will be rescued soon since they are, after all, famous Hollywood actors. But that doesn’t happen and things soon start to descend into Lord of the Flies territory.

Emma Watson makes a brief appearance as Emma Watson–assuming that Emma Watson in real life is as cool and capable as Hermione. I’ll give them an extra half star for that but the sequence isn’t really long enough to save the movie.

I think the movie’s main problem lies in its central conceit and main joke: having the actors play themselves. In a typical comedy about dim-witted louts the characters are ordinary schlubs, loveable losers with whom the audience can sympathize. You can have one character who is an obnoxious overpriviledged celebrity whom the audience can hate. When you hate all the characters it’s hard to enjoy the movie.