When Jay Baruchel was picked up at L.A. airport by his close friend and fellow Canadian Seth Rogen, he was disappointed to learn that instead of unwinding, the plan was to attend a housewarming party at James Franco's mansion where a lot of A-list celebrities would be in attendance. For, despite having achieved his own measure of success, low-key Jay still lives in Montreal, in part to avoid the trappings of such shallow Tinseltown gatherings.
Upon their arrival, Jay awkwardly exchanges pleasantries with the host and Jonah Hill, both of whom he secretly suspects hate him. Furthermore, he's overwhelmed to find himself surrounded by so many famous faces he's never seen in person before, icons including Kevin Hart, Channing Tatum, Jason Segel, Emma Watson and Mindy Kaling, to name a few.
Jay also feels uncomfortable about the booze, drugs and bawdy behavior typified by Michael Cera's playfully slapping Rihanna on the rump only to get smacked in the face by the pop diva. Then there's Craig Robinson who sits down at the piano to sing a tune called "Take Your Panties Off," while sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the same phrase.
However, all of the above is irreversibly rendered irrelevant when an earthquake registering 9.7 on the Richter scale rocks the city and rips a giant fissure right in front of Franco's place. The guests scatter in all directions as a widening sinkhole starts to swallow some of the revelers at the same time that blue beams of light lift others heavenward.
Meanwhile, James, Jay, Seth, Emily, Craig and Jonah beat a hasty retreat and barricade themselves inside to await rescue. Eventually it dawns on them that the cavalry might never be coming, since what's unfolding all across Los Angeles looks more like Judgment Day than the fallout from a momentary shift in tectonic plates.
Thus unfolds This Is the End, a zany apocalyptic comedy marking the directorial debut of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the writing team previously responsible for Superbad and Pineapple Express. This novel adventure proves to be every bit as side-splitting as their earlier offerings, with much of the inspired humor coming courtesy of actors willing to be the butt of the joke despite playing themselves.
Armageddon never looked like so much fun!
Excellent (4 stars)
R for crude humor, coarse sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use, violence and pervasive profanity
Running time: 107 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures