Writers/Directors: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Michael Cera
Who would have ever thought that the end of the world would be this funny? If more end of days/apocalypse type movies were made in this style they would be far more successful. Seth Rogen is picking up his buddy Jay Baruchel from the airport so he can spend the weekend in LA. Apparently, Jay hates the LA lifestyle and refuses to stay there. Yes, all of the actors are playing fictitious or exaggerated versions of themselves. They spend the afternoon gorging on Carl Jr., smoking dope, and playing video games. That evening they go to a big housewarming party thrown by James Franco. Jay is leery about going, but he tags along anyways to be with Seth. Jay thinks Jonah Hill hates him, which is far from the truth after a warm encounter when they get to the party. All of their friends including: Jason Segel, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholz, Aziz Ansari, Rihanna, and Michael Cera are at this party.
After reaching his breaking point, Jay gets Seth to go with him to the convenience store to buy a pack of smokes. A huge explosion rips open the store and various customers are sucked into the air through a blue orb. They manage to escape and run like hell back to James Franco's party. The rest of LA starts to burst into flames and massive sink holes start opening up leading to the deaths of many of our celeb party guests. The lone survivors of this so-called earthquake/apocalypse are: Jay, Seth, James, Jonah, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Emma Watson. Their survival skills and friendship are put to the test as they wait out what is happening outside.
Sometimes when movies start crossing genres, the tone and balance can get out of sync. Movies like Tropic Thunder turn into an action film and the comedy gets left behind. Here, the comedy stays quite present and at the fore front despite the final third of the film turning into a CGI demon/zombie fest. It has the comedy/horror down correctly like Shaun of the Dead did a few years back. I don't want to give too much away, but the script is not all dick jokes and pot smoking. I was pleasantly surprised that Rogen and Goldberg delve into such interesting topics like mortality, how to get into heaven, what heaven is like, etc...Sure, it is done with a more comedic tone than a straight philosophical approach, but I am glad they went for it.
Have I mentioned how funny this movie is? It is literally the funniest movie I have seen all year. The humor is crude, crass, vulgar, and self-deprecating on these actors. What else do you expect from this team? I think it was smart of Rogen and Goldberg to have the actors play themselves. Much of the humor comes from the exaggerated or fictitious versions of themselves and seeing how far they are willing to push the boundaries of their own images. It also helps if you know each of these actors and their careers as they are constantly referencing past films or performances they've given. James Franco keeps hoards of old props in his basement. Jonah Hill has a dramatic voice now that he's an Oscar nominee. Seth Rogen has sold out. These are just a few of the jabs that are thrown toward each other. Michael Cera went so far as to give people the impression he is an ass-grabbing coke fiend. Where the truth lies is probably somewhere in the middle regarding how much of these "characters" are based on their real-life counterparts. You can tell that some of the movie is ad-libbed as the actors will just go off on these riffs and jabs at each other that are some of the best moments in the film. Like many movies that come from these guys, it does feel a bit long at times. At least the humor is consistent throughout.
RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)