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'The World's End' Movie Review

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The World's End Movie Review

Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in 'The World's End'

© Focus Features
The World's End is the official end to the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy which kicked off with Shaun of the Dead, found Hot Fuzz filling the middle spot, and concludes with the 2013 release of the pub crawl comedy. Though third in rank chronologically, The World's End actually fits snugly in the middle between the outrageously funny zom-rom-com and the buddy cop movie as far as entertainment value goes. As with the first two films of the trilogy, The World's End was co-written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by Wright, and stars Pegg and Nick Frost. By this third film audiences could have grown a bit tired of the trio, however Pegg and Wright's The World's End script is so clever that there are no worries whatsoever that the three are resting on their laurels.

Because serving up a nostalgia-filled comedy fueled by beer isn't enough for Pegg, Wright, and Frost, The World's End mixes in sci-fi and romance along with some of the best fight scenes on screen in all of 2013. In fact, The World's End handles the action sequences so well that it will not only make my Top 10 Comedy Movies of the 2013 list but also likely will land a spot on my Top 10 Action Films list. None of the stars are spring chickens, but Wright stages and shoots the fight scenes in such a way that you can believe these middle-aged guys who aren't gym rats could actually be delivering the blows.

The set-up finds five old friends from a tiny British town reuniting to complete a pub crawl (12 pubs, 1 pint each = The Golden Mile) they abandoned back in high school. Four of the five have grown up to be successful businessmen while one has just never grown up at all. In his mind, Gary King (Pegg) is still the leader of the pack and while his friends have all transitioned to adulthood, he's living in a past in which the most important goal is to make it through those 12 pubs. A solid job, picking up a paycheck, and wearing clothes from this decade...none of these things matter to Gary.

Unfortunately for his four childhood buddies, Gary's powers of persuasion are still as strong as they were when he originally convinced them to take a walk/stumble down the Golden Mile. Steven (Paddy Considine), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Andy (Frost) all reluctantly agree to a pub crawl reunion, mainly because they're curious but also because - although they'd never admit to it - they're a little bored with being responsible adults. So, back to their hometown they go, expectations for excitement and fun set low except for Gary who carries on as if this will be the best night of their lives. However, as Thomas Wolfe said you can't go home again and these five former best friends should have heeded that warning. Things have changed in their sleepy town and not for the better.

The Bottom Line:

Pegg makes Gary, the most unappealing, obnoxious character of the bunch, into someone you forgive for his actions, while the rest of the gang give Pegg the perfect straight men to work off of. Every member of this impressive ensemble is given his or her (in the case of Rosamund Pike) moment to shine, and the connection between the actors portraying the former schoolmates is genuine and even occasionally touching.

But The World's End isn't all drunken humor and bar fights. Wright and Pegg have delivered a film that's touching and sweet, without being overly so of either element. They also dish out film references - some subtle, others overt - as they did with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and in fact there's so much going on it's absolutely necessary to sit through multiple screenings. Even then there's no guarantee you'll catch all that Pegg and Wright have stuffed into the swiftly paced 109 minutes. It took actually looking at the cast list after the screening to get the genius of the characters' names, and I'm sure I missed out on much more than that.

The only way to make The World's End any better would be to actually see it in a theater that serves beer. On home video this will, obviously, serve as one of the better movies to screen when engaging in a drinking game, not that I'm suggesting that you wait until it comes out on DVD; this one deserves as much business at the box office as possible, and it's also one of those films where sharing it with other fans of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz will only elevate your viewing experience (it's nice not to be the only one laughing at inside jokes).

GRADE: A

The World's End was directed by Edgar Wright and is rated R for pervasive language including sexual references.

Theatrical Release: August 23, 2013

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