Sometimes, setting low expectations is a good thing. I was skeptical about This Is The End, afraid it was another one of those "funny trailer, horrible movie" type films that have plagued theaters since Judd Apatow became the commander and chief of Hollywood comedies. For every Superbad and Knocked Up, there's a Guilt Trip or The Sitter. For every Forgetting Sarah Marshall, there's a Get Him To The Greek. I was afraid this movie was going to be Pineapple Express all over again, a film with an awesome hype building trailer, but disappointing overall. Thankfully, I was wrong.
This Is The End is not only one of the funniest films of 2013, but one of the funniest movies I've seen in recent memory. The plot is ludicrous and almost irrelevant, the real laughs come from watching the ensemble cast tear each other to pieces with crude jokes and gags galore. The film centers around this group of Hollywood comedic actors, all playing exaggerated versions of themselves, as they party it up at James Franco's house when the friggin' Apocalypse unfolds. The dudes are trapped indoors and begin going stir crazy. Each character is used to being the token "funny guy/smart ass" in each of their movies, so imagine how wacky it gets when all six of them are thrown together in a less than ideal situation like this.
Raunchy humor aside, I'd argue that This Is The End's best feature is the film's basic underlying theme: that Hollywood is full of shit. The movie takes the piss out of our society's unhealthy culture of celebrity worship/idolatry. The characters in This Is The End are all famous Hollywood elites, but when shit hits the fan, their true colors are revealed, that of selfish, callous assholes. They're horrible people and even worse "friends" toward one another. Watching the characters drop their Hollywood facade and become honest human beings is almost as rewarding as the awesome Ghostbusters inspired CGI hell beasts that run wild during the literal Armageddon taking place outside. All the random nods and throwbacks to their own film careers, and the impromptu Pineapple Express sequel the stars create while trapped indoors are all perfect examples of how clever and tongue and cheek this film is. What could have been a self congratulatory circle jerk from Hollywood's current comedic heavyweights turned into one of the best comedies I've seen in years. Michael Cera, Emma Watson and Channing Tatum's cameos are worth the price of admission alone.