Brothers in arms

James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel in This Is The End.
James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel in This Is The End.

After having a hand in the recent surge of bromance films with Superbad and Pineapple Express, in which hetero mates declare their undying love for each other, writer, actor and now co-director Seth Rogen has upped the scale with apocalyptic doom.

Heightening the urgency and deepening the bonds of friendship with the impending annihilation of the world, Rogen has recruited several of his co-stars and real life buddies for his latest offering.

Rogen’s fellow Canadian buddy Jay Baruchel, whose career hasn’t experienced quite the same trajectory, flies to LA for a weekend of bonding over video games and weed.

Baruchel is dragged to a house party at James Franco’s new pad that is populated with Hollywood stars Rhianna, Emma Watson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and a hilariously cocaine-fuelled Michael Cera.

While the partygoers indulge in excess in true LA style, the world comes to an end, with a portal to hell opening up in Franco’s front yard.

Franco, McBride, Baruchel, Hill, Rogen and Craig Robinson board up the house and, with the remaining alcohol, drugs, a Milky Way and a few bottles of water, try to make it through the apocalypse.

Making their directorial debuts, Rogen and Evan Goldberg don’t quite have the chops yet to deliver a large scale comedy that relies as much on action, special effects and scares as laughs ” they may have bitten off than they can chew with juggling multiple genres.

The first half is a gut-busting 50 minutes of toilet, drug and party humour, cheeky self-references and in-jokes, but once things get more serious, things get slightly less fun ” the gags thin out and poorly rendered special effects take centre stage.

But the rude, crude jokes, enthusiastic performances and self-aware humour take this comedy a long way.