CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Horror and comedy films are extremely hard to review. Both usually require you to shut off your brain enough that you can enjoy the cheap thrills without focusing on the barebones plot.
The best films in the genres entertain you with an engaging plot. It's hard to pull off.
Which is why a comedy/horror movie is almost impossible to pull off. "Shaun of the Dead" is held extremely high in this regard as it offered great performances, hilarious jokes and a few good, light scares.
"This is the End" at least has one of those things, as the performances are genuinely great. The film is an ensemble apocalyptic horror/comedy with celebrity cameos ranging from Rihanna to The Backstreet Boys. The core cast, though, is Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride.
After the apocalypse interrupts a celebrity bash at Franco's place, the remaining survivors must put up with each other as they try to cope with the event. The jokes are typically juvenile for a Rogen movie, mostly relying on drugs or masturbation as the punch line.
Since the celebrities are playing exaggerated versions of themselves, there's some self-deprecating humor as well. How much you like the movie depends on how much you like the core cast, because the plot is just a thinly veiled excuse to see them interact.
When we actually find out what causes the apocalypse, the movie decides, out of nowhere, to beat the audience over the head with the message. This creates a problem, as the jokes aren't as mature as the movie's themes.
Speaking of jokes, there's a few too many concerning rape for my taste. For instance, Emma Watson misunderstands a conversation she overhears in which the guys discuss how "rape-y" they appear and who would be more likely to rape her. There's also a reference to "Rosemary's Baby" involving Hill that's probably going to go over the heads of the target audience.
Also, the drug references wear thin after the first 40 minutes.
Still, there are a few laughs to be had. It's fun to see Michael Cera play the worst human being in history as he sexes his way across the entire party while high on cocaine and die by being impaled by a streetlight. And hey, if you like homosexual innuendos, you're really going to love this movie!