This Is the End is like a Who’s Who of contemporary American comedy, with almost everyone who has graced an Apatow production in the past decade making an appearance. The twist is that they’re all playing themselves, with Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Jonah Hill among the stars partying at James Franco’s house when the apocalypse begins. As hellfire rains down outside, this small band of celebrities spend their time bickering and working out ill-conceived survival plans, and their interaction is fun to watch – for a while.
The actors are clearly having a ball spoofing their public personas, but at a certain point it appears they’re having a lot more fun than the audience. The loose, improv-heavy approach they indulge in ensures that a number of scenes feel overextended, and the film as a whole is disappointingly shapeless. With most of these performers now pursuing far more interesting projects in their own careers, maybe this is the end for a group of comics whose shtick has started to feel rather tired. [Philip Concannon]