This is the End (Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen, 2013)

Amid the continuing deluge of hard R-rated comedic fare, along comes This is the End, a recognizably welcome departure from your standard fare as it tackles the apocalypse with vulgar finesse. Featuring a slew of this generation’s favorite funnymen playing caricatures of themselves, a party at James Franco’s house goes south (pun?) when a cataclysmic disaster strikes. Unknowing of their situation, the surviving team of lads pools their resources in an attempt to ride out the event, although things just go from hilariously bad to worse to worst as a startling truth is slowly unveiled.

If you’ll forgive the mundane introductory bit, This is the End is probably one of the better comedies of its type I’ve seen in recent memory, notwithstanding the foreseeable vulgarity strewn throughout. As a very capable genre mash-up, Goldberg and Rogen’s deft blend of raunch and striking Christian post-apocalyptic mythos benefits mostly from their conviction in its exposition. Not heavy-handed but well-intentioned, occurrences range from comically tense demonic Hellbeast rampages to possession, the latter of which comes about in a gleefully tasteless sort of way that’s easily forgivable.

The actors’ facetious portrayals of themselves shine from the initial bash at Franco’s through the beginnings of the apocalypse itself, cranking it to eleven when necessary but not losing sight of the film’s intentions. Considering the amount of time spent inside one worse-for-wear Hollywood mansion, the characters’ interplay and general chemistry are relied on to carry the film through and up to periodic jolts of mayhem. Thankfully, this is indeed the case as everyone remains likable even despite their hateful actions in response to the fate that’s befallen them.

As a whole, This is the End benefits more as a gleeful, wildly unique take on the aforementioned R-rated formula, content-wise specifically. For as mostly funny it all is, Goldberg and Rogen’s ballsy, informed (if barely) Christian take on your typical apocalyptic scenario shines, plain and simple. Pair disparate, above average elements from several genres with the comedic talent of these fine young actors – vulgarity included – and you have yourselves a contemporary comedy of slight stature that’s worth your time.

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