Combustible Celluloid
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With: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Channing Tatum, Jason Segel, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Backstreet Boys
Written by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, based on a story by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jason Stone
Directed by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
Running Time: 107
Date: 06/12/2013

This Is the End (2013)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Actor Seth Rogen and writer Evan Goldberg, who previously teamed up on the screenplays for Superbad, Pineapple Express, The Green Hornet, and The Watch, now make their co-directing debut with this comedy extravaganza, a remarkable mix of monsters, visual effects, vulgar humor, and feel-good optimism. At first, the novelty of watching these actors play "themselves" is good fun, but eventually they turn into interesting characters (and probably quite unlike their real selves).

The story begins as Seth Rogen picks up Jay Baruchel at the Los Angeles airport, hoping to show him a good time during his stay. They smoke some pot, play some video games and then go to James Franco's house for a huge party. Franco, Jonah Hill, and Craig Robinson, as well as many other famous stars are there. Jay seems uncomfortable and wants to leave. Suddenly, quakes rock the city, and blue lights beam down from the sky. Monsters begin to rampage as flames lick the countryside. In Franco's house, the survivors try to make the best of their situation, but unfortunately, Danny McBride has crashed the party and is now making quick work of their provisions. If this is judgment day, can these actors learn to be good people before it's too late?

As with other Rogen/Goldberg movies, This Is the End eventually focuses on a "bromance," or an attempt at two guys to work past their differences and establish a lasting friendship. Amazingly, it's also about redemption, or trying to become genuinely good people to earn passage to heaven on judgment day. (Hilariously, actors are not considered good people.) Rogen and Goldberg successfully keep the jokes organic and flowing, escalating the stakes and the surprises throughout. (The visual effects work much like those of a "B" movie.) They have created a comedy for the ages.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment sent me a DVD screener, rather than a Blu-ray, and from what I can tell, it only has a few of the extras featured on the Blu-ray. They are a commentary track by co-writers/co-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (somewhat funny), a short featurette, "Directing Your Friends," and a collection of short ads, plus various trailers for other Sony features.

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