The Worlds End (2013)
Writer/Director Edgar Wright once again grabs Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to create a third film in a collection colloquially known as the Cornetto Trio – The World’s End completes a line-up including Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Pegg plays Gary King, a 40-something trapped in a nostalgia trip focussed on his last day of school and a failed 12-pub crawl which was due to end in the titular drinking hole some 20 years ago. Pegg is great as the aging rocker still driving the same car, in the same clothes and smoking the same fags whilst the former mates he dragoons into re-playing the pub crawl are suitably middle-aged until alcohol loosens them up. As well as partner-in-comedy Nick Frost, Pegg and Wright rope in the great Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike and Martin Freeman, who are all fab and have characters which kick off well against the intentionally irritating King. The group including King’s former teenage shag (Pike) are soon faced with what now seems to be the subtext in each one of this trio of movies – a bunch of Bodysnatcher-like nasties (zombies in Shaun, cults in Hot Fuzz, and now some bunch of PC-pushing alien baristas in World’s End). Cue horror, comedy and entertaining japes. then ?
Alas, no. It’s kinda fun but lacking in real thigh-slappers. Labelled by some (presumably with an agenda) as the “best British comedy” films of the last decade, its hard to find belly laughs in the near-gags. TWE is a charmingly shot view of little England, and there are some titters to be sure but the aliens are a bit, well, bland and the story lacking in a little cohesion, with a script that feels like the writers are just trying too hard to replay old gags. The climactic face-off with the baddies feels a little like a cross between Harry Potter and Oliver, and the epilogue is very far from a fun experience. I suspect the film is replete with in-jokes which passed me by so for fans of Frost/Pegg, this could be a real treat. Pegg is good value elsewhere in his burgeoning Hollywood career: as an updated Scottie (albeit with a cringe-worthy Scottish accent) or as the jokey Brit lap dog to Tom Cruise’s All American Hero in the Mission: Impossible series. Unfortunately, The World’s End, like Hot Fuzz, is not much cop.