starring James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel
written and directed by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
by Angelo Muredda Whatever its dramatic hiccups, This is the End can at least boast that it's one of the better full-length adaptations of a trailer. In 2007, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel starred in a 90-second sizzle reel--co-scripted by Rogen and Superbad collaborator Evan Goldberg--about their efforts to stay alive amidst an unspecified global catastrophe. As scrappy comedy skits go, "Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse" was pretty good, a charming riff on the actors' schlubby personas as well as a pitch for more time and a bigger budget to drive home their unlikely survival story. The trouble with This Is the End, a funny but belaboured riff on that premise, is that it's still trying to close the sale long after the project's been greenlit, ingratiating itself to an audience already on board. In their joint directorial debut, Rogen and Goldberg show a knack for characterization but seem anxious about where to go from there, squandering a gifted ensemble in a procession of spotty "what if" scenarios that don't resemble a movie so much as a glimpse into a celebrity edition of charades in Judd Apatow's basement.