It took 6 years for the brainchild of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Jason Stone’s short film “Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse” to develop into the full length feature “This Is The End” that opens tomorrow but in this writer’s opinion it was well worth the wait.
A steady stream of teasers, followed up with a Facebook campaign to perform various uncomfortable acts in exchange for “faves”, preceded this chockablock-full-of-comedians meta-comedy starring Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, (takes a deep breath) Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Aziz Ansari…and many others.
All of the actors play themselves in this film about the end of days. Everyone convenes at James Franco’s home for a housewarming party. Rogen and Baruchel leave for a munchie run (“Why?” I wondered, as a housewarming party should have had its own fare, but I let it go) and are at a convenience store when a large blast shakes the foundation, sending Rogen falling to the floor pinned by rack of chips (snack attack?). Baruchel witnesses, and this is somehow missed by Rogen, the customers in the store held fast by a brilliant blue stream of light before they ascend through the roof. LA erupts into chaos with cars crashing, fires, rioting in the streets, and the two run back to Franco’s house at Rogen’s insistence, which is the last place that Baruchel wants to be.
The outside violence has yet to reach the Franco compound and it’s not until a giant sinkhole appears in the front yard that everyone scatters. A few remaining attendees wall themselves inside Franco’s house and they all make a plan to survive until they’re rescued. Jay Baruchel tries to convince them that what they’re experiencing was what was prophesied in the Book of Revelations but, not having actually seen people leaving the planet in a stream of blue light as Jay has, they’re reticent to believe him.
There’s a lot of over the top humor and jump scares in this film, but it’s not unappreciated. Maybe it’s because we get caught up in that they’re playing themselves, or the idea of the seemingly overprivileged Hollywood set having to use what skills and wit they have to survive. But survive they do. Well, mostly, but I don’t want to give too much away.
It turns out that Baruchel is right and that this is the End Times. The Rapture has happened and Satan and the Beast are burning through the chaff. Liberties are taken with the actual occurrences that appear in the Book of Revelation, but as any adapted book made into film, some of it is sensationalized for the sake of the film (wink). Then the actors discover that their souls are still able to be redeemed and go to Heaven through self-sacrifice or honorable acts.
Personally, I loved it over-the-top humor and all. There are some hilarious (and shocking, but I’ll let that be a surprise) cameos in the film. Michael Cera gets the chance to throw off his demure shy boy typecasting to really act up, and lasciviously so, to the point where he’s discovered in a bathroom with two other girls doing what an internet friend dubbed the “Capri Sunrise”. You’ll just have to see it and laughingly cringe for yourself.
I felt that some actors should’ve gotten more screen time (Krumholtz and Ansari, for starters), but all in all it was a hilarious 1 hour and 47 minutes of my time. Doubly so, because I plan on seeing it again soon.