Fleshing out their unreleased 2007 short film Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse, multi-hyphenate Seth Rogen and co-producer Jay Baruchel delve into end times with the winning, unabashedly vulgar This Is the End, in which a bunch of comedic Hollywood actors, playing themselves, cope with panic and paranoia while Armageddon unfolds outside around them. Befitting the backslapping nature of its casting, there are inside jokes and side-winding conversational riffs aplenty, but Rogen and his cowriter-director, Evan Goldberg, honor the conceit in all its zonked-out glory, studding their movie with slapstick gore, eccentric supernaturalism, some skewering of disaster and horror movie conventions, and lots of smart digs at particularly masculine vanity and insecurity.
While a lot of the humor in This Is the End trades in baser instincts (there are drugs, projectile vomiting and even point-of-view footage from a decapitated head, and an array of phalluses also make appearances, including the largest glimpsed onscreen since Watchmen), all the irreverent bickering and lashing out leads to some terrifically funny bits. And the movie gets in enough shots at horror films and the recent glut of siege tales to partially qualify as genre parody. Mostly, though, This Is the End is a relationship picture, with an improbably sincere ribbon of fraternal feeling and uplift. For the full, original review, from Screen Daily, click here. (Sony, R, 106 minutes)