Film review: This is the End

For the past few years, James Franco has been taking himself as a bit of a joke. Exaggerating his public persona in ways that veer closer and closer to self-parody, he reached the apex – or nadir, depending on how you look at it – of this approach in his self-directed Interior. Leather Bar., in which he directs a club full of gay men while the cameraman interviews many of these men to gauge the level of their sexual interest in Mr. Franco.

At the same time, his professional involvement with Seth Rogen, starting with their joint (pun intended) appearance as your average duo of weed-smoking dudes on the run from a crooked cop in Pineapple Express, and continuing with the equally trippy but vastly inferior Your Highness, has made many people wonder aloud, “What is this guy putting in his pipe?”

His latest starring role is as the host of a party that literally becomes an end-of-the-world party. He plays himself, or at least his character is called “James Franco,” and almost everyone else in the cast also plays a version of himself of herself, from Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel to Emma Watson and Rihanna.

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