An already-cheeky comedy goes cheerfully berserk when
filmmaker Edgar Wright reteams with star and co-writer Simon Pegg and their
comrade-in-arms Nick Frost for The
World’s End. Their latest effort follows Shaun of the Dead and Hot
Fuzz in the so-called Cornetto trilogy, whimsically named for a popular
British ice-cream confection. But what really pushes this energized comic caper
into the plus column is new blood: Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy
Considine as Pegg and Frost’s fellow high-school musketeers, and Rosamund Pike
as Freeman’s sister who’s long been an object of attraction for two of the
gang. These formidable actors add weight—and considerable comedic chops—to the
proceedings and make it a treat to watch.
Pegg remains the story’s sparkplug as a lifelong hell-raiser who wants to re-live the best night of his life, when he and his teenage pals attempted to complete a hometown ritual of drinking their way through all 13 pubs on the so-called Golden Mile. In the intervening years these onetime buddies have drifted apart and settled down; only their boisterous ringleader still cares about reenacting this accelerated pub crawl, but for various reasons they all reluctantly agree to go along for the ride.
Just when you think you’re about to ingest another saga of a man-child who can’t face adult responsibility, The World’s End takes a spectacular leap into the Weird (which, alas, is revealed in the trailer) and never looks back. It’s indescribably wacky and presented with the visual and verbal punch we’ve come to expect from Wright and Pegg. The movie scarcely stops to take a breath, but it has a kind of internal logic that ties it all together, with a bit of social commentary, satisfying payoffs, and lots of movie-buff in-jokes along the way.
Most of all, The World’s End (which happens to be the name of the13th and final pub) is out to give its audience a good time, which the cast seems to be having from start to finish. It’s wild and crazy, in the best possible sense, and more fun than most of this summer’s tentpole movies put together.