By Dan Metcalf, Jr.
Clipper Film Correspondent
The World's End (Focus Features)
Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references.
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan.
Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.
Directed by Edgar Wright.
Being drunk is something foreign to me. Meeting people from other countries who often drink is not. Alcohol is a big part of the culture in many countries, and none more so than the United Kingdom, where pubs are revered by the general public as the optional social gathering place. One popular activity among the drinking public in England (and gaining popularity in the USA) is the “pub crawl,” in which participants travel a circuit of drinking establishments over one night (I'm guessing the word “crawl” refers to the manner of travel one is forced to use once they are inebriated from earlier stops in their journey). One such crawl is the subject of The World's End, the third major film collaboration from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, who also brought us 2004's Shaun of the Dead and 2007's Hot Fuzz (Pegg as co-writer and star, Wright as co-writer and director).
Pegg plays Gary “The King” King, a middle-aged alcoholic loser out to reunite all his schoolboy pals in a 20 year anniversary re-enactment of a pub crawl they attempted back in their high school days. Gary somehow manages to convince his old pals to try and complete the crawl they attempted as 18 year olds in 1993, even though all of them have moved on to more responsible lifestyles. Gary's old chums include Andy (Nick Frost), a successful businessman, Oliver (Martin Freeman), a real estate salesman, Steven (Paddy Considine), a divorced construction company owner, and Peter (Eddie Marsan), a luxury car salesman. Oliver's beautiful sister Sam (Rosamund Pike) also drops in.
As the fellows head back to their small home town and begin their drinking circuit, things seem a little out of place, as do the inhabitants of the quaint English hamlet. As Gary gets the fellows into trouble, the townspeople exhibit odd behavior, as if the boys are being watched.
It turns out almost all of the townspeople are really robot clones, manufactured by an alien race to replace their human dopplegangers. As “The King” and his court realize what's going on, Gary insists on completing the crawl. Gary's pals are often forced run from the killer robots and follow him as he gets to the final destination in the crawl, a pub aptly named “The World's End.”
The World's End is a very funny movie with a lot of clever, hilarious dialogue from Pegg and Wright. It's one of the funniest movies of the year, unless the drinking culture puts you off a little. The World's End is the third leg in a series of similar movies from Pegg and Wright. Even though it has the same basic theme from Shaun and Fuzz (regular guys deal with some sort of apocalypse or conspiracy in a rural or suburban setting), it's still original on a few aspects. That theme might be old, but the Pegg/Wright dialogue in The World's End will be like a vintage brew for fans of their films.