Audacious and out-of-control, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's This Is the End takes the bromance genre to new heights.
Set in Los Angeles, the movie starts like a gritty Cassavettes male-bonding flick, then detours into disaster when a killer earthquake ushers in the apocalypse.
Rogen and his real-life actor friends play themselves. There's Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and newcomer Jay Baruchel.
Seth's Canadian friend, Jay, comes down for a visit. Seth wants to show him a good time, hang out with his friends, but Jay's standoffish. After a major smoke session, they head over to Franco's mansion in the Hollywood Hills. It's a who's who of Judd Apatow produced movies: Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, plus Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, David Krumholtz, Mindy Kaling, Martin Starr and a few really big names I won't give away.
When Seth and Jay take a hike to the convenient store for a pack of smokes, all hell breaks lose. It's mayhem as the earth splits, cars careen and fires blaze right before their eyes. But this is not your ordinary earthquake. Beams of blue light suck people up, up and away, chosen for showing valor and selflessness in their lives.
Back at the party, no one believes Jay's tall tale (not even Seth) until the house begins to rumble. Everyone runs outside, but a sinkhole swallows up most of the celebs, leaving just the five actors. The house survives the tremor and the guys hold the fort in this new bleak landscape.
Just as they neatly count their meager provisions, McBride shows up unannounced and cooks breakfast. He's at his Kenny Powers most outrageous, a bolt of comic energy in a morose situation. Inside the house it's a bundle of neuroses all wound tight. The banter is funny and biting - lots of inside jokes and movie references.
One of the gags is that Seth has an idea for "Pineapple Express 2," in which McBride's character Red is now a kingpin who wants to assassinate Woody Harrelson (played in a cowboy hat and with a drawl by Hill). The clip (below) of this mini movie within a movie was actually released as an April Fool's prank.
Things go batshit crazy whenever they venture outside. The biggest adversary is a huge winged Satan that possesses Jonah, leading to an Exorcist homage.
Ultimately, This Is the Endis about what you would do facing the apocalypse. Would you shrink away in fear, only help yourself or dig down deep for your last ounce of courage? Only the latter qualifies for the blue light. It takes a whole movie - all the jokes and special effects aside - for Seth and Jay to figure that out.