'This Is The End' Review: A Balls-Out, Unapologetic Apocalyptic Comedy

On paper, there's no way This Is The End should work. There are too many stars and too many wacky ideas for a pair of first-time directors to handle. Six famous actors, each playing themselves (or "themselves") have to survive the end of the world while massacring some of Hollywood's A-list? That's just insane.

Thankfully, movies aren't made on paper, and This Is The End not only works, it slays. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have written and co-directed a balls-out, unapologetic comedy that somehow balances Hollywood insider jokes with violence, scares and a very sweet center. You'll be hard-pressed to be find a better comedy this summer.

This Is the End begins with Jay Baruchel arriving in Los Angeles to visit his friend Seth Rogen. They end up at James Franco's house where a laundry list of celebrities are drinking, doing drugs and generally going nuts. Among them are Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson, as well as Michael Cera, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, Jason Segel and many more. Eventually, the world begins to end and many of these people die, leaving the five stars (and Danny McBride) alone in the house. They're confused, scared, and very, very thirsty.

The desperation alone provides so much insanity and laughter you'll have to see the movie twice to catch all the jokes. It's relentless. And while the film has its share of big hits and several misses, humor-wise, what's most interesting is how it takes a nice thematic risk. This Is The End definitively says there is a Heaven and there is a Hell, and we humans have to deal with that. So as the characters are doing all kinds of crazy stuff, we know the reason they're in this situation in the first place is because at their cores, a higher power doesn't view them as good people. Pretty heavy stuff for a comedy with a hard-R mean streak of body fluid jokes.

However, we don't get bombarded with this sentiment. Most of the time it's just under the surface, acting like a subtle justification for the jaw-dropping craziness happening on screen. Some of that madness does go on a little long, and even the good bits don't always work perfectly. But that's all easily acceptable when you're laughing so hard and even get to think a little bit. This Is The End is not only filled with surprises; it's surprisingly good.

/Film rating: 8 out of 10