From Superbad to Pineapple Express to The 40 Year Old Virgin, I’ve always dug Judd Apotow and his free-association nation of weed-addled, court-jester-smart, body-dysfunctional projects and stars. What can I say? Despite the fact that they treat women like mean mommies, the gross dork in me likes the gross dork in them—all gross, dorky metaphors attendant. Maybe it’s because, at heart, the Apatownies seem like the good boys I flirted with in high school until I landed a boyfriend with a car.
In This Is the End, the latest in the Apatow lineage (it’s written and directed by Seth Rogen and his professional BFF Evan Goldberg), title is pretty much destiny not just because of this movie’s apocalyptic premise but because an expiration date looms for this crew’s boys-will-be-boys schtick. You can only play impotent and guileless for so long when you’ve developed as much Hollywood clout as these kids have. To their credit, they seem to know it—even building questions of are we good people? and does that matter? into this crazy-ass story of who among them would survive should the Rapture ever rain upon their heads. Rogen plays himself as does pretty much everyone else in his universe, including James Franco, smoovegrooving Craig Robinson, Rihanna, Paul Rudd, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, an orgiastic, coke-whoring Michael Cera, an axe-wielding Emma Roberts (paging mean mommy), Jonah Hill, Mindy Kaling, my boyfriend Jason Segal, and, uh, the Backstreet Boys, and it’s great fun to see them send up how they’d navigate Judgment Day, not to mention a typical Hollywood partay. Once most of them have been offed, Rogen, Franco, Hill, Robinson and Baruchel hide out at Franco’s pad and fight over their scant resources, including, naturally, their one remaining spank book. While the story may take its cue from their now-30ish physiques by sagging in the middle, it includes many, many funny bits. And while the winkingly meta self-mockery may exude a whiff of have-your-jay-and-smoke-it-too, that don’t mean it don’t get you hiiiiigh. I say, hit it, baby—though maybe via a home-delivery system at 3 am—and rest tight with the knowledge that this crew may not be damned to devolve into Grownups 2.