So what to say?
Well, firstly, this is a classic case of 'did they even write a second draft of the script?' and also 'you guys are not quite as great at improvising as you all seem to think' because the overall structure, plot and pacing is generally weak and uninspired. There are also missed opportunities everywhere and just as one scene soars and you're laughing, you're also annoyed because you know it's going to derail and take another 10 minutes to do anything actually funny again.
Secondly Seth Rogan plays Seth Rogan, a point which is joked about in the first 5mins of the movie admittedly, but that doesn't change the fact that everyone else in this film is playing either weirdly exaggerated versions of themselves or completely different personas and having him just play the version of himself we've seen time and time again is a little grating and unimaginative. It means everyone else gets parodied and is the butt of a joke (or 5) but he never is, really.
Ok, so, the Seth Rogan thing brings up a question:
Can anyone tell me why taking drugs is funny? who decided that?
I don't mean this in a prudish 'don't take drugs' type way because, please, do whatever you want away from me, I don't care but WHY is it funny?
There are films in which drugs, or their side effects, are portrayed as funny but it's usually in the context where the drug taker is a fool and someone is observing their foolish behaviour but when did this thing of 'oh I smoke pot and take E that makes me cool AND funny' become an acceptable substitute for actually writing a joke or a funny scenario. I am sure if you're high it's funny but sadly I am not 15 and 'getting high' no longer holds any allure whatsoever.
It is just one example of where this film veers into self-indulgent, in-joke, vanity-project pap.
Just like the "Seth Rogan always plays himself" joke at the beginning was echoed in the film, there is also a scene where they fool around with a video camera and make a home movie version of a Pineapple Express 2 trailer. Cut to them all rolling around in the living room laughing. I imagine that is precisely what editing and then screening this movie was for the actors involved. It gives you the distinct feeling that while they may say they want you at the party, you're not really invited and this is just for them, however your repeated donations of $14 a cinema ticket is much appreciated.
My last point on this is some lame running joke about Jay Baruchel and Jonah Hill not liking each other. It routinely made me think, did I miss something? I am not in on this not-very-funny joke so why does it have any place in this movie.
In this regard James Franco and Michael Cera probably come off the best in the film and both exaggerated versions of themselves, that they play, warranted lots more screen time. Weirdly Danny McBride is also not too bad and a, what should've been very stupid, scene in which him and Franco talk about cumming on things that should've fallen flat, turned out to be a highlight.
The celebrity cameos are ok but ultimately are cheap shots and I have seen better on the late night Jimmy Kimmel show.
Where the film succeeds is in the examination and parody of different 'end of the world' movie tropes. There's the siege at home stuff, an exorcism scene and a mad-maxian/hills have eyes cannibals in a winnebago scene that work really well and allow for some funny moments.
The problem is that it falls short and adheres too much to its boring set up. It should've parodied disaster movies, alien invasion movies, zombie movies etc. had a bit of imagination. Considering it's a mishmash, unstructured, mostly one set kind of deal anyway they could've gone hog wild!
Instead apart from the couple of funny, interesting scenes I mentioned before, it sticks to this Christian version of the rapture thing that whiffs to high heaven of keeping the biggest audience possible, happy.
Comedy used to bother Christians. It used to leave no sacred idol unblemished, no taboo trashed and no stone unthrowed but apart from a few shots of the devil's CGI cock and a little, brief discussion around the table about 'ok, so now, God is real' that was it. Again, shame they missed the opportunity. There's some funny stuff there, if they had the balls.
I hate to sound like the only atheist in the room but the ultimate goal of this film being 'to get the characters to ascend to heaven' was childish, idiotic, patronising and naff. Oh and also, BIG SPOILER, if there is a heaven and the fucking Backstreet Boys are the entertainment, I'd rather be butt raped by the devil's CGI cock. Just saying.
It was worth the watch once though and it did illicit some chuckles out of me. It's ultimately lazy though and made me feel that there is a good script to be made of friends at the end of the world but this isn't really it.
5 out of 10 novelty, rudely shaped communion wafers