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Overall Rating
4.43

Awesome67.57%
Worth A Look: 21.62%
Average: 2.7%
Pretty Bad: 2.7%
Total Crap: 5.41%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings


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World's End, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Drinking Buddies"
4 stars

"The World's End" is the concluding chapter of the so-called "Cornetto Trilogy," a loose group of wild, genre-scrambling comedies from England that began with the hilarious rom-com-turned-zombie spectacular "Shaun of the Dead" (2004) and continued with the equally brilliant "Hot Fuzz" (2007), which fused together elements from the kind of genteel murder mysteries that the British thrive on with high-octane American cop thrillers like "Lethal Weapon" and "Cobra." This time around, director Edgar Wright and co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have come up with a project even more ambitious than their previous efforts and if it doesn't quite measure up to their previous collaborations, it is still smarter, more complex and flat-out funnier than most other comedies of recent vintage that you or I could name.

The film kicks off in 1990 as five friends from the quaint British town of Newton Haven decide to commemorate their graduation from high school by doing The Golden Mile, an epic pub crawl in which participants are required to hit 12 different bars before having a final pint at the ominously titled The World's End. Alas, their livers weren't quite as big as their appetites and none of them managed to complete the mission. Most of the group somehow managed to move on from this and gone to make decent lives for themselves--Oliver (Martin Freeman) is a slick real estate agent with a Bluetooth permanently attached to his ear, Peter (Eddie Marsan) has a wife and family and works at his father's car dealership, Steven (Paddy Considine) is recently divorced and runs his own construction business and Andy (Frost) is high-powered attorney. As for Gary (Pegg), he has spent ensuing two decades in an especially aimless state of permanent adolescence--even right down to wearing the same Sisters of Mercy T-shirt as his constant badge of (dis)honor--and is now convinced that the only way to bring closure to the disappointments of his life and move on is to reunite the old gang, return to Newton Haven and once again take a shot at The Golden Mile.

None of the others are especially keen on the idea--most of them agree to do it only because Gary insists that Andy will be there, even though their last time out together resulted in the dissolution of their friendship and Andy swearing off booze forever--but nevertheless, the five of them reunite and set off for Newton Haven and The Golden Mile. The first rude shock comes when they start hitting the quaint pubs of their youth and discover to their dismay that they have all been so homogenized and stripped of their individual properties that there is hardly any difference to be had between, say, The Old Familiar and The Golden Cock. Things quickly begin to deteriorate when Oliver's sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike), pops up and reignites and old rivalry between Gary and Steven and finally boil over when it turns out that Andy was lured into turning up under false pretenses. The whole evening is about to once again fall apart prematurely until something unexpected happens that forces the guys to both stick together and try to complete the pub crawl no matter what obstacles they may encounter and trust me, there are plenty of those on hand.

I would not dream of even hinting at what the unexpected discovery might be because it really does come as a surprise within the context of the film when it occurs about 35 minutes into the proceedings. However, for reasons that I can barely begin to understand, the distributor has decided to highlight this particular development as a key component of its marketing campaign to the point where if you see a commercial, trailer or one of the stars shilling for it on a talk show, you will know what it is. I guess I can understand why the studio would choose to take this approach--from a promotional standpoint, it makes a film that might have seemed a little too quaintly British for American tastes into something easier to sell from a marketing standpoint. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that I would have responded more strongly to the big narrative shift, not to mention the film as a whole, if I had been as unaware of it as some of my colleagues claimed to after the screening. This isn't a deal-breaker by any means and indeed, the screenplay by Wright & Pegg still has plenty of twists and turns up its sleeves but to spoil something this significant just to add something to a 30-second promo ad demonstrates a certain lack of faith both in the movie and in the target audience that made "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" into long-established cult film sensations.

There are other things to talk about besides the big twist, though I will be circumspect in regards to some of the details so as to prevent ruining any of the remaining surprises. Suffice it to say, the screenplay by Wright & Pegg is a fairly strong blend of hilarious dialogue and situations, homages to any number of classic movies for the film geeks out there and even some surprisingly thoughtful material dealing with the sometimes difficult process of finally growing up and moving on. By now, Pegg & Frost have long since proven themselves to be one of the best screen comedy teams working today but here, more so than in their other effort, they also demonstrate an ability to play well with others as well--celebrated actors Marsan, Considine and Freeman fit in with them perfectly and even Rosamund Pike gets a chance to crash the boys club and score a few laughs of her own. Behind the camera, Wright keeps things humming along nicely and from a purely directorial standpoint, this may well be his most accomplished work to day.

That said, "The World's End" is, like a typical pub crawl, not without the occasional awkward stumble. Some of the action-oriented sequences get a little repetitive after a while, the screenplay never gives a convincing reason as to why our heroes need to continue their trip up The Golden Mile even after they become keenly aware that something is not right and while the finale is certainly one for the books, it doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the proceedings--it feels as if Wright & Pegg came up with the ending first and then decided to try to devise a story that would build up to that pre-ordained conclusion rather than let it develop in a more dramatically believable manner. As a result, it suffers a bit in comparison to the likes of both "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," though I would hasten to add that you could say the same about virtually every other comedy to emerge in the last few years. However, it still works as a more than satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy while also serving as a perfect deck clearer to set the stage for whatever it is they have in mind for their next project. Here's hoping, however, that those pesky punks in the promotional department don't muck up their efforts again the next time out.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=24452&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/23/13 08:38:16
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/27/14 KingNeutron It was OK, worth the rental but might not be for everybody 3 stars
4/07/14 reptilesni I love this crew, but this movie didn't work at all. 1 stars
2/26/14 Brennan Best Movie of 2013 5 stars
12/07/13 Pearl Bogdan This isnt Shawn of the dead but it was still pretty funny 4 stars
11/23/13 Patricia fun end to the cornetto trilogy 5 stars
10/16/13 Carl A very fun film!!! 5 stars
9/29/13 Frank Robinson Enjoyable in a completely insane sort of way 5 stars
9/23/13 Simon again impressive for making a mish mash of genres work, funny above all 4 stars
9/19/13 Annie G So much fun - makes me want to do a pub crawl w/o aliens. 5 stars
9/05/13 PoetChuck Worst Movie Ever 1 stars
9/03/13 Geraldine Amazing! 5 stars
9/01/13 Bob Dog Better than the average movie, but weaker than the rest of Wright's films. 2 stars
8/24/13 Flipsider Very entertaining! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Aug-2013 (R)
  DVD: 19-Nov-2013

UK
  19-Jul-2013 (15)

Australia
  01-Aug-2013 (MA)
  DVD: 19-Nov-2013


Directed by
  Edgar Wright

Written by
  Simon Pegg
  Edgar Wright

Cast
  Simon Pegg
  Nick Frost
  Rosamund Pike
  Martin Freeman
  Paddy Considine
  Eddie Marsan



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