Warning: Contains spoilers
The fourth wall for Seth Rogen’s first directorial effort This Is the End was blown apart by a giant demon penis. I’m being serious.
This apocaplyptic film featured all the famous faces of comedy such as Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, and Craig Robinson among others playing themselves. Well, playing themselves with the vulgar volume turned way up, especially with Michael Cera who plays a coked up sex addict.
Much of the film involves all those characters having a party at James Franco’s house when the world comes to an end. People get sucked up into the air via a blue light, massive holes open up in the ground and fires ravage the land. Many other famous faces get killed in the early barrage.
At first, it seemed like Emma Stone, famous for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series, was one of them. She later returns in my favorite moment of the film. She’s sitting in a bedroom overhearing a conversation between the male comedians. Goofy-looking hipster, Jay Baruchel, talks about how the rest of them need to make Emma feel comfortable since she’s alone in a house with all men. He’s worried about sending out any “rape vibes.” He thinks Craig Robinson is sending out the worst of them.
Emma Watson is aghast and comes out swinging an axe. She steals some supplies from them and gets the hell out of there. It was a great moment.
Much of the film involves these hilariously and legitimately ad-libbed moments. For instance, Franco and McBride go back-and-forth about McBride’s excessive masturbation. They talk about coming all over each other. It’s vulgar, but had me laughing.
Interspersed with this vulgar and random comedy is an actual bit of “acting” and thematic weight involving friendship. Essentially, Jay Baruchel feels like Seth Rogen has changed since becoming famous. Things aren’t the same as when they were younger. This boils over into a fist fight at one point and even some questioning of leaving the other behind at the end of the world.
Mother Jones referred to this film as Left Behind for potheads. That’s an apt way of putting it considering how the film progresses. That blue light that was sucking people into the sky is actually God and he’s taking his chosen people worthy of going to Heaven. Likewise, that huge demon penis is legitimate and attacking the people “left behind.”
I didn’t care for this part of the film. Not only did it drag on, but it wasn’t all that funny save for a small cameo by the walking Michelangelo statue, Channing Tantum, as the sex slave for newly-turned cannibal, Danny McBride.
As far as comedies are concerned, this is one of the top efforts put out this year and in quite some time. I just wish they would have not bothered with the religious angle of sacrifice and “being saved.” Still, perhaps it was worth it for the largest demon penis ever put to film.