Last night, I got to see a preview of This Is the End, a horror comedy that opens tomorrow.
As you can see from the poster, it stars James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride all playing themselves — or the version of themselves they want to show for this story. The premise starts by exploring what it means to be friends, and how you combine your old and new groups. Old friend Jay is visiting Seth in LA, and Seth drags Jay to a party at James’ house to hang out with his new buddies.
Various celebrities — Michael Cera, Jason Segal, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Rihanna, Emma Watson — also make cameos as themselves, but aside from the jabs at their careers or popularly known personalities, the story is really about how the six core guys fall apart completely when disaster strikes. You see, the party ends when the apocalypse begins, and the good people are taken up to heaven while the others have to cope with sinkholes to hell, demons, and everything on fire in their attempt to survive. The real danger, though, is the selfishness of other people.
It’s stupid but funny, willing to be raunchy or gross or crude or tasteless for the sake of the joke. (Seriously, don’t go if you’re bothered by drug humor or dick references or rape jokes, to name just three of the areas wallowed in in depth.) The effects are well-done, as is the acting, because I believed these guys, previously sheltered in their world of drugs and partying, were seriously freaking out and contemplating what their lives meant. At one point, someone tries to justify that they weren’t all that bad, talking about how acting brings happiness to people, but there’s a much more old-fashioned take on morality under it all.
A woman behind me, as everyone was leaving, said that she laughed a lot, but she felt like every time she did, she was guaranteeing that she wouldn’t be one of those going to heaven. That’s a pretty good summation.