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Review: This Is The End

PUBLISHED: 09:30 04 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:30 04 July 2013

This Is The End

This Is The End

Archant

It is the inherited vanity of every generation to believe that they are living in the end of days, and to demand entertainments that reflect that. Despite Hollywood lavishing billions of dollars, they have never created a vision that encompassed the horror of having everything you hold dear in the most violent and unexpected way.

Now it is revealed that all they needed to do was gather up a bunch of comedy actors and celebrities of varying repute playing themselves, and strand them at James Franco’s house while Los Angeles, and the world, burns.

Jay Baruchel is the LA out-of-towner dragged along by best friend Seth Rogen to a party at Franco’s new fortress-like home. During a cigarette break, fire starts to roar up from the ground and blue lights start to suck people into the sky.

While Jay immediately pegs this as from the Book of Revelation, cineastes will notice the similarity to little-loved low budget alien invasion drama Skyline. It’s a fine joke that the end of the world is a rip-off of one the cheapest, crappiest sci-fi films of this century. Most of the all-star cameo guest stars at the party are killed off, leaving six to stay there and bicker over food and survival.

It is full of performers I can take or leave (in Danny McBride’s case, leave). I like Seth Rogen but even I would concede that his charm is a finite resource and needs to be mined sparingly.

Along with the whole House of Apatow axis, this crowd have shaped recent Hollywood comedy output in their relaxed, weed-espousing, bromancing, improving image and it can be galling to the unconvinced.

Actors playing themselves is always a queasy notion; it works here because of a generous injection of self-loathing. It’s like they decided that having all been shunned by Ricky Gervais they would meet up and do their self-deprecating Extras cameos together.

Even such portrayals involve enormous amounts of vanity and if you can get past that, this really is absolutely hilarious. Rogen and Goldberg haven’t written anything this funny since Superbad and there hasn’t been a Hollywood comedy this relentlessly funny since Ted. Any film that makes me love McBride is just a little bit miraculous.

THIS IS THE END (15)

Director: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen

Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny Mcbride

Length: 107 mins

****

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