This is the End

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

Columbia Pictures

Profane, shocking, and absolutely hysterical, “This is the End” is one of the most creative comedies to come along in years.

The setting is L.A., at a party held in actor James Franco’s new house. Jay Baruchel has flown in to see his best friend Seth Rogen, who drags him to the big event that’s attended by lots of other celebrities, including Rihanna, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride. All of the actors portray themselves.

Jay doesn’t live in California, and he doesn’t much care for the general environment or, for that matter, Jonah Hill. But because Jonah is a good friend of Seth’s, Seth does everything he does to ensure the two get along.

The house is full of mostly self-involved, petty people whose egos are bigger than Franco’s house. Jay becomes steamed at Seth because he feels that Seth deserted him at the party.

The two take off to a late-night convenience store when they hear what they think might be … thunder? An earthquake? Jay sees columns of light beaming down from the sky and taking several people up into them.

Seth just wants to get the heck out of the store and back to the party, where the two arrive to find that no one else has the slightest idea of what’s going on. Jay tries to tell the assemblage about what he saw. James mocks him until the din outdoors finally becomes so loud that the partygoers, too, hear it.

A huge pit opens near the party, and many guests meet their demise in this crater with molten lava at its core. Only a handful of guests, all of them male, decide to stick together with James as the others either die ghastly deaths in the pit or run toward locations they think might be more safe. The guests in the Franco mansion spend the first few hours trying to divide up the food, the only girlie magazine in the house, and figure out how to get through whatever this disaster is.

Each actor portrays himself in the worst possible light, with Rogen as a dedicated pot smoker and Franco off-the-wall strange. It’s a movie aficionado’s dream, riffing on roles in which the actors have appeared (there’s a no-budget version of a “Pineapple Express” sequel discussed amidst the carryings-on) and depicting childish hissy fits and fights as the survivors begin to duke it out amongst each other.

It’s ribald, grownup humor with one of the coolest musical numbers you’ll ever see.