Movie review: 'This is the End' doesn't want to grow up

For the News-DemocratJune 13, 2013 

What It's About

Definitely a guy thing, "This is the End" is often very funny but mostly a raunchy self-indulgent frat-pack comedy that goes on way too long with its one-joke premise.

The beginning set up of famous comedic actors playing themselves and hanging out in Los Angeles is clever. Seth Rogen and his pal Jay Baruchel go to a house-warming party at James Franco's chic contemporary digs, and the Oscar-nominated actor plays a version of how you think he is, with pretentious art on the walls and his pontificating his big-brain philosophies. Well-played, sir.

Then aliens attack. People die -- some of the star cameos don't end well -- and the host and his BFFs hole up in the mansion with little food, a small cache of bottled water, and little preparation for the apocalypse.

Then it slides into interminable discussions of body fluids and jokes regarding masculinity and maturity from a bunch of spoiled guys who have yet to grow up. Some of them man up here while others fall apart.

When it comes to the big life-and-death questions, there are several funny scenarios, and a hilarious celebrity cameo near the end. But it seems as if they didn't know how to end it, and take a lame way out.

Performances

They keep doing the same schtick that these guys have become famous for, riffing on versions of themselves for roles as "themselves." Franco has the most fun with his part, and actually Danny McBride's obnoxiousness -- which gets old quickly -- works here because he is the source for much of the conflict. He is, however, a one-trick pony. Michael Cera plays against type as a wild-man partier.

What Works

The early scenes are fun to watch -- is that Paul Rudd? -- mainly for recognizing the cameos crammed into the first act. The visual effects are surprisingly good.

What Doesn't Work

You don't get a sense of what is going on in the world, really --- you just have to guess. The creatures look like Zuul, the monster in Sigourney Weaver's refrigerator, in "Ghostbusters." And how many more penis jokes do we want to hear from these guys?

2 stars out of 4

Director: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Emma Watson, Michael Cera

Length: 1:47

Rated: R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence

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