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Article updated: 6/12/2013 11:00 AM

'End' a freakishly gross, shockingly funny end-of-days horror comedy

By Dann Gire

Earthquakes strike L.A!

Volcanoes erupt in the streets!

Celebrities die hideous deaths right before our eyes!

Mysterious blue lights come out of the sky!

Supernatural forces snatch people up into the heavens, leaving six Rapture-deprived men trapped in James Franco's fortresslike house struggling to survive Armageddon, demonic possession, human nature and an ax-wielding Emma Watson.

"This is the End" makes for one absurd, fantastic end-of-days thriller stuffed with so many jaw-dropping scenes that you may not be able to chew food for a while.

In this breathlessly inventive, freakishly gross and shockingly funny ensemble comedy, an all-star cast plays themselves, or at least characters with their own names.

Not one displays vanity or shame in unleashing a frightfully tight, racy series of unpredictable, often vulgar sequences erupting with quick wit and precision-executed physical comedy.

(Actor Carey Lemar Jones plays a supernatural character aptly called "Rape Demon," so you've been warned.)

It begins as a reunion between old pals Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel. They head over to James Franco's house for a Great Gatsby-proportioned party.

Right away, the movie unleashes a gay vibe that lets us know it won't be playing anything safe.

Franco instantly crushes on Rogen. His affections for the actor can be seen on the wall where Franco has colorfully emblazoned their names next to each other. The party guests include Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kevin Hart, Rihanna and a host of Franco's famous "friends," all of whom go along with the running joke that L.A. denizens are self-centered, shallow human beings.

"This is the End" quickly segues into a claustrophobic survival tale with Franco, Rogen and Baruchel trapped with a whiny Jonah Hill, easily shaken Craig Robinson and amorally impulsive Danny McBride.

Emma Watson pops in just long enough to decide she'd rather take her chances outside with mysterious killer beasts than hang out with these losers.

(If you've seen the trailers, you've seen the quintessential moment when the guys squabble over who deserves the last Milky Way bar while the world goes up in flames.)

"This is the End" -- deliriously written by co-directors Rogen and Evan Goldberg -- swings into a saucy "Exorcist" parody (certainly better than Leslie Nielsen's "Repossessed") before going full-bore Book of Revelations on us as the Rapture survivors struggle to enter heaven by cleansing their souls ASAP.

This might be exactly the sort of zany feature you'd expect from the demented brains that created the outrageous comedies "Superbad" and "Pineapple Express."

If the screenplay to "This is the End" relies too heavily on Hollywood's overused verbal crutch "Awesome," that can be forgiven.

Especially in light of the inspired, brave performances by a committed, self-deprecating cast who clearly had the time of their lives making themselves look superbad.

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