This Is the End is a film. Yeah.
When the main cast of Star Trek went down to the dangerous alien planet, they always took along some unnamed extras with them (affectionately known as the ‘red shirts’). Why? Because you didn’t care if they died.
This Is the End gives us a main cast of red shirts and puts them into a hostile world, then hopes the audience will care.
Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Jay Baruchel play hyper-realistic versions of themselves in a world where the Rapture has happened and Satan has begun his dominion of the Earth. Who will survive? Who cares? These are horrible characters with no redeeming features. If they weren’t famous (and some of them are only barely famous), we wouldn’t care about them at all.
The joke appears to be that these actors are all so very self aware of how they are perceived. The tragedy is that none of them is sufficiently self aware to know how self indulgent, morally repugnant, and adolescent this shitty pile of crap is.
Because the film is barely a comedy, the film leaves itself open to two different kinds of analysis. First, what does the film say about the affectations of masculinity pervasive in modern American comedies. Second, how do we understand religious concepts in popular film.