The blurring of reality and fantasy has long been a story device. What constitutes ‘reality’ is an interesting point to ponder with it becoming fodder for countless TV shows. Most are staged and one should never believe what we see. This aspect is used to good effect in This Is The End. Featuring celebrities starring as ‘themselves’, whether what we see are their true personas makes for a good guessing game. This adds an amusing coda to a comedy making the end of the world look suitably chaotic.
Attending a house-warming party hosted by fellow actor James Franco, a group of stars look forward to a good time. Among them are Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Michael Cera. Enjoying being with other performers, their party is spoiled when they learn the world is ending. Seriously annoyed at this party-spoiling occurrence, they battle to survive when the planet crumbles around them and ruins their well-planned evening.
This is the End is reminiscent of the National Lampoon movies. A popular American comedy staple from the 70’s and 80’s, they gleefully swam in a sea of crudity and obnoxious behaviour. This is the End is somewhat smarter although not much. Rogen and cast have fun sending themselves up as they parody their public personas. How they interact in a time of global crisis is reasonably well developed despite the plot’s increasing silliness.
Negating this is the ‘men behaving badly’-style humour which, whilst initially amusing, quickly becomes tiresome. Coupled with a pretentiously self-indulgent tone, this dilutes its impact. One would have expected more clever humour given the talent, although This is the End re-enforces the theory that stylish wit remains the bastion of their English counterparts. By its conclusion, the film glides on auto-pilot with a barrage of ridiculous imagery swamping its initially promising premise.
There have been far worse comedies than This is the End, although it is just as unsubtle. Those enjoying transparent humour may like it even if it shows it is one Hollywood party no one would want to attend.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 3