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This Is the End (Blu-ray Review)

10 Oct, 2013 By: John Latchem

Sony Pictures
Box Office $101.47
$30.99 DVD, $40.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.
Stars Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Michael Cera.

Thanks to Judd Apatow and his ilk, there exists a definite class of movies characterized by laid-back characters, improvised dialogue, generous pop-culture references, raunchy language and an obsession with anatomical processes. The often hilarious This Is the End groups together a bunch of actors who regularly appear in those kinds of movies and casts them as caricatures of themselves dealing with the apocalypse. The result is probably the most self-referential Hollywood movie since Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Apatow isn’t attached to this one, but his influence is clear on co-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. What makes the movie effective is the familiarity the cast has with each other, and the audience with them (which isn’t going to be good news for anyone who hates these guys, but this movie isn’t meant for them anyway). That’s probably why it seems half the Blu-ray extras consist of alternate takes of the guys goofing around.

Things start out innocently enough, with Rogen and Jay Baruchel heading to a party at James Franco’s new house. This leads to a feast of celebrity cameos, none funnier than Michael Cera as a coked-up sex fiend.

Then the rapture comes, and the ground opens up and swallows most of them whole. The survivors include Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride. They quickly take stock of their supplies and barricade the house against demon marauders, and pass the time getting stoned and making a cheapie sequel to Pineapple Express.

The subtlest joke in all this is the fact that these guys are playing “themselves,” but are indistinguishable from the usual personalities they bring to their characters in almost all their other movies.

The movie is based on a 2007 short film called Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse, which fortunately is included on the Blu-ray for reference. In fact, the Blu-ray is rather stocked with enough extras to make fans of the film very happy.

Rogen and Goldberg spend their commentary relaying how much fun the film was to make, but also the degree to which the real personalities of the actors were skewed to fit the parameters of the story. The meta-humor is also the focus of one of the many production featurettes on the disc.

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