**1/2 out of ****
At their best, Seth Rogen's comedies (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) have an easygoing vibe and give audiences the sense of watching really funny people hanging out together.At their worst, they can make the audience feel like they're trapped at a party with spectacularly obnoxious people who are nowhere near as funny as they think they are.Rogen's latest effort, the apocalyptic horror-comedy This is the End gives audiences both feelings.
In the film, Rogen and a host of other comedic actors (James Franco and Danny McBride among them) play themselves. At a party at Franco's mansion, disaster of an unknown origin strikes and the increasingly hysterical actors are left to fend for themselves.
Overall, the movie is very hit-and-miss.Some of the actors' reactions to the disaster and petty squabbles with each other are funny.There are some effective cameos (the best is a first act appearance by Michael Cera playing himself as a coked up terror).But the film's improv-heavy style falls flat at times; certain riffs aren't funny at all but are still allowed to continue for what seems like an eternity.The film's attempts at over-the-top grossouts also fall flat.
This is the kind of movie that might play better at home, where it's easier to focus your attention elsewhere during the film's weaker stretches.