The trio of director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have proven to be Genre Buster extraordinaires. They turned the zombie apocalypse into a funny and touching love story in Shaun of the Dead. They took on the world of law enforcement in Hot Fuzz, firing off funny bullets every chance they got. This time around the boys from Britain are back to get drunk and save the world from an alien presence with a goal to replace mankind in The World’s End.
Simon Pegg takes the lead in The World’s End playing Gary King, a true party monster who is past his prime. You would describe King as Rob Lowe’s character from St. Elmo’s Fire all grown up and a disaster. Longing for his younger years, Gary decides to get his old crew back together 20 years later to recreate their legendary Pub Crawl from their youth. The friends begin to realize not only have their personalities and the pubs have changed, but the town folk have been taken over by an outside force not from this world. The gang has to loosen their collars, chug some beer and kick some ass in the name of humanity.
Edgar Wright and writing partner Simon Pegg throw everything at you including the kitchen sink when it comes to genres they touch on. The World’ End is a mash-up that takes its inspiration from films such as The Big Chill, Beerfest, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and even The Road Warrior near the end of the film. And once again, I absolutely loved it. That fact that this over the hill gang has to fight off an invading force while getting drunk as a skunk makes for some great laughs. The action once again does not let you down. The audience is treated to slow motion fight scenes, creepy flashlight eyes and the occasional “See you next Tuesday” comment for some inappropriate giggles. Edgar Wright has proved to be an excellent bartender when it comes to mixing the genres into a spirit fans will enjoy.
The World’s End also benefits from changing up the formula we are accustomed to with this creative triad. Normally it’s Pegg who plays the straight man to Nick Frost’s wacky sidekick. This time around the roles are reversed. Pegg’s Gary King is the loser and Frost plays the buttoned up, water drinking Andy. Bravo for Wright and Pegg for mixing things up. Sometimes if you go to the well too many times the water begins to taste bland. The two shine playing their new roles with Pegg seeming to relish playing a lovable scumbag. Never fear fans of Nick Frost, the guy is just as funny playing the straight man as he is at playing the slob on the couch. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the cleverness the threesome brings to The World’s End. The World’s End is vulgar, the battles are exciting and the story once again is very smart for a film that sometimes lives in the gutter.
Overall, I give The World’s End 3 out of 4 stars.
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