This is the End Review: Self-Deprecation at its Finest

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This is the End may be a movie about the apocalypse, but the strongest bit is the mirror it holds up to itself.

What we have here is a very funny movie, plain and simple. In a culture that puts celebrities on a pedestal they can never hope to actually live up to, directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have dared to tear down any preconceptions of these actors and tear them apart limb from limb.

Jay Baruchel arrives in Los Angeles to chill and smoke pot with Seth Rogen, who in the opening scene is forced to do his indistinguishable laugh for a paparazzo. They then go to James Franco’s house for a party. The guests include a cocaine addicted Michael Cera, Jonah Hill playing as nice as he possible can, and Jason Segel venting to Kevin Hart about How I Met Your Mother.

James Franco in particular shows his ability to laugh at himself. Baruchel claims not to be a fan of art. “Have you ever been to Subway?” Franco replies with a smirk. “The guy making the sandwich, that’s art.”

But the best of it comes when the world actually starts to end. Who knew watching Michael Cera die would be so hilarious?

It leads to Baruchel, Rogen, Franco, and Hill, along with Craig Robinson and Danny McBride all stuck at Franco’s house while the apocalypse surrounds them. They fight over a Milky Way, smoke weed, make an amateur version of Pineapple Express 2, and have a crazy run in with Emma Watson. Honestly, the whole thing is comedy gold.

That is, until the story becomes more about the apocalypse than the celebrities. Things slow down for a good half hour as we start seeing what is actually causing the end of the world (coincidentally, it was when I started wondering how high Rogen and Goldberg were when they wrote this thing).

But it picks up again right at the end with a few last couple punchlines that invoke all the fun being had in the first two-thirds.

So really, all This is the End really needed was some trimming of the fat. It flows nicely with almost constant laughs. It also manages to completely avoid the brick wall most comedies hit when they have to resolve things. It’s a noble effort, and easily one of the funniest movies you’ll see this year. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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