Review: This is the End (Missing Cameo: Kirk Cameron)

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It’s hard to say exactly what is ending, but any film starring Hollywood’s young comic titans (all of whom are dispensing with the character names and "playing themselves") must be driving at some message….right?

This is the End splits the difference between Tropic Thunder and Left Behind by tagging along with a group of actors so self-absorbed they can only grasp End Times as something to hide from, party through or make a movie about—because if they made a short sequel to Pineapple Express it’d live out their hopes for those characters…who could be the most real versions of themselves they have. Or not, I mean it’s just acting.

They’re partying like it’s 1999 at James Franco’s embarrassingly modern bachelor pad, where the art either looks like penises or implies the size of the owner’s. When Canuck pals Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen go out for cigarettes they witness the beginning of The Reckoning, with blue shafts of light delivering the good from an earth that will soon become the (well-endowed) devil’s playground. It’s instant bedlam and the wealthy yet resourceless man-children scream their way back to the party—which proceeds unaffected because all those people suck and God doesn’t want them. When the earth concedes to the wishes of the right wing religious fanatics and swallows up the likes of Rihanna, Azis Asnari and a few of the lesser cast members of SuperBad, the remaining cowards run wild around the hell hole. For a second you’ll want them all dead, even if you’ve loved them on The Office and Freaks and Geeks, but that love/hate/love is the right way to start watching them inefficiently come to grips with a world bigger than themselves. Their Hollywood success and self-love have provided them with a cloistered life full of luxuries, comforts and nuisances they can easily shoo-away or throw cash at. Now, however, times are changing—or at least that’s what these guys are suggesting IRL.

Michael Cera lampoons his “good kid” typecasting by playing a vacuous scumbag, and his death is funny because it’s over-the-top and just desserts—but he’s not special, he’s in a club of schticky comics faux-martyring themselves because that’s likely what they think This Is The End is—a playful metaphor for acting and the hell-fire of public opinion. That or they’re comparing adulthood to Armageddon, in which case it's a little ironic to let Cera die first. But untangling all the mangy irony might steal joy from This is the End, which treats the sweetness of male friendship like the End All Be All, even when the End All Be All is saving them from a demon with a gargantuan penis--which, I should state, is not art, guys, it's just a wang.

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