Michael Cera, playing himself, dies in spectacularly gory fashion in "This Is the End," which Sony Pictures showed in an excerpt screened at the CinemaCon movie convention on Wednesday night.
The "Superbad" actor is impaled by a falling lamp post after the apocalypse harshes the mellow at James Franco's star-studded house party in the upcoming foul-mouthed comedy.
That's not the only indignity foisted upon the nebbish Cera, who like all the other actors – Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride – plays an obnoious, self-centered version of himself. In the film, the actor transforms himself into a sex-crazed, Dionysian figure. Another scene finds a bare-assed Cera being serviced by not one, but two women. For good measure Mindy Kaling, playing herself, confesses to Seth Rogen, playing himself, that she wants to sleep with Cera before the night is over.
Sony Pictures, which screened roughly 15 minutes of footage at the annual exhibition trade show, clearly thinks that the film may be one of this summer's breakout R-rated comedies and theater owners in the crowd greeted the sneak peek with loud laughter and applause.
It will face stiff competition for that distinction, however. "The Heat," a profane buddy comedy with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy screened in its entirety at the trade show earlier this week and was enthusiastically received. Likewise, "The Hangover Part III" enters the fray with enormous brand recognition.
In a season of adult-oriented comedies, "This Is the End" may be the hardest R of all. A lengthy exchange between Franco, playing himself, and Danny McBride, ditto, results in a record-breaking use of the word cum, while in a slaughtering of sacred cows "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson robs the comedians of their remaining booze.
"Hermione just took all of our shit," McBride moans after the theft.
"This Is the End" premieres on June 12, 2013.
For the record: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Cera was killed by a falling tree. He does, however, very much die in the trailer.