There’s a moment, about a third of the way through this film, where things are going bad but not as bad as they’ll soon get. Los Angeles is being destroyed by flames and earthquakes, many people have died (others were taken up into the sky by a blue light) and our intrepid heroes, all actors playing (what I can only hope are) parody versions of themselves, are holed up at James Franco’s house, waiting to be rescued. While this is happening, they get stoned and decide to make a sequel to Pineapple Express, a film several of the actors here had been in. It’s a bad idea, this film they come up with. And yet, it feels like this is exactly what happened when Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg came up with the premise for This is the End. This was a joke that went too far. And no one in the crew had the balls to say “Guys, maybe this isn’t as funny as we think it is.”
It’s not. It’s not even a little bit funny. Maybe if you like other Seth Rogan comedies, full of obvious dick and drug jokes and set-ups which go on longer than an SNL skit, you might enjoy this, but for me, it was like watching 107 minutes of awkward award show dialogue. For people who are paid a great deal of money to act, no one (with the possible exception of Michael Cera) actually delivered a performance.
It’s too bad, too. Because I like James Franco and Jay Baruchel. And in the hands of someone who was even a little bit clever, this had the potential of being quite funny. Instead, it’s immature and lazy. When you’re a writer, one of the first things your told is you should never take your first idea. That’s the obvious one. This is a film filled with first ideas.