Title: The World’s End
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan
You know it’s dumb. It’s also intellectually crippled like a horror flick at times. Thing is, The World’s End constantly gives you something to legitimately laugh and think about. Yes…Think.
The 109 minutes may bask in a plot motivated by immaturity – and a concept we’ve seen before from the filmmaking team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) – yet it has a cleverness to it that enables a fresh feeling in a genre fad that more studios have shoved in our faces the last couple years (i.e. This is the End, The Watch, R.I.P.D., etc.).
Gary King (Simon Pegg) narrates a brief opening montage, introducing his four best friends and how they tore up the streets in a small town outside of London back in 1990. Highlighting the mischief was a famous pub crawl, The Golden Mile, in which the boys came up just short of completing the 12 stop jaunt. King, the leader back then – now juvenile adult with no direction – decides to rally up his mates (Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan) – all whom have careers and families – to take care of some unfinished drunken business.
So getting back to how this familiar story arc is rockin’ a new shine to it, just about all the credit has to be given to Pegg’s performance during the first-half. His jet-black long haired Billy Idol dressed character, that behaves similar to Captain Jack Sparrow on a witty rant, is charismatically energetic. At certain turns, he is so immersed in this persona you forget it’s the quirky underdog we’ve gotten to know the last decade in an assortment of meta-spoofs. While he usually shares the load with Nick Frost, all four co-stars, including Rosamund Pike in cameo mode, act as personified nuances for the rapid-firing Pegg to play off. In fact, if the forthcoming angle wasn’t worked into the screenplay, the simple plan of reuniting and doing a pub-crawl in R-rated fashion would be more than sufficient entertainment.
About a quarter of the way into the crawl, a solidly buzzed Pegg stumbles (literally and figuratively) into a scene where he begins to realize the townspeople he remembers aren’t quite the same anymore. Though appearing human, they’re some type of robots made from the DNA of the person they represent. Completely hammered and trying to conceal that they have a mild understanding of what’s going on, the group decides to stick to the plan of completing the crawl in order to not draw attention and possibly die of something other than alcoholism.
Right when the reveal occurs, you kind of wonder if this can hold-up to the hot start initiated or will it close with a peak-and-valley type delivery. Well, it struggles ever-so briefly and pushes through the above mentioned horror movie dumbness, and ends up being quite the show that is blessed by character continuity and savvy writing. They wisely placed running jokes in random situations along with the choreography during a surprising amount of bar-fighting action sequences, adds to the hilarity. It’s basically The Faculty meets They Live, possessed by Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and therefore, it’s a hustling playful riot.
Put it this way, yours truly was stone-cold sober for this early morning screening, and ended up giggling like a college freshmen dabbling in their first true wine cooler drinking odyssey while watching this.