Typically you’d think labelling a film as a short expanded to feature length would be less than complimentary. That’s a positive description of This Is the End, though, as it builds on the concept of 2007’s Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse while managing to sustain the sort of self-parody and laugh per minute ratio usually seen in a browser window rather than the big screen.
Sustained exposure to semi-improvisational mugging by Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson (playing less-then-flattering versions of their real-life selves) fortunately doesn’t prove tiresome. The film’s apocalyptic scenario proves a perfect excuse for high levels of hysteria, mayhem, profanity and an over-achieving gag count – it’s no Your Highness, in other words.
This Is the End won’t be for everyone, as it hinges on how much you like the comic personae these guys have honed over the last decade. Love it or hate it, you’re unlikely to be sitting on the fence as Rogen and Goldberg – operating as a dual writing/directing tag team – go over-the-top as much as possible. Whether that’s turning Franco’s mansion into a claustrophobic Lord of the Flies setting, or going crazy with the CGI as LA goes to hell in a handbasket, it all does justice to their meta-idea in hilarious fashion.