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Review: This Is the End

Ken Korman on a young Hollywood vanity project about the Apocalypse

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Beware the Hollywood vanity project, especially those in which famous young actors trade on their formerly good names to indulge whatever cinematic fantasies lurk in their celebrity-addled minds. On the surface, This Is the End seems the ultimate fulfillment of that ever-present danger: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and just about every other thirtyish male movie star in America join questionable forces to bring us The Apocalypse, Hollywood-style. Earthquakes, sink holes, raging demons from Hell, you name it — it's all here to interrupt an otherwise happening party at Franco's stylish new Hollywood home ("I designed it myself!" Franco says). Everyone's playing themselves, or rather spoofing some version of their public personas, which works best for those who keep up with that sort of thing. The entire movie is vulgar beyond description. But this directorial debut from Rogen and Evan Goldberg (writer/producer of Pineapple Express and The Green Hornet) scores surprising points with self-effacing humor and sheer audacity. If you ever wanted to see Jonah Hill channel Linda Blair in The Exorcist, this is your chance. — KEN KORMAN

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