After Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Pegg and Wright conclude their so-called Cornetto Trilogy with yet another riotously inspired exploration of British culture: the pub crawl. And this time it's apocalyptic! But what makes the film thoroughly endearing is its focus on old friendships that are so well-played that we can't help but find ourselves on-screen even when things get very, very silly.
Pegg plays Gary, the ringleader of his band of school pals. It's been more than 20 years since their failed attempt to visit all 12 pubs in their hometown of Newton Haven. Now approaching 40, Gary hasn't grown up nearly as much as his friends, so it takes a bit of convincing to get the now-settled Andy, Ollie, Pete and Steve (Frost, Freeman, Marsan and Considine) to reunite for a renewed attempt to drink their way through town. Then after the first couple of pints, they start to suspect that something isn't quite right. People are behaving strangely, as if there are alien body snatchers taking over the town. So to avoid attracting attention, the boys just carry on getting blind drunk on their way to the 12th pub, The World's End.
As in the previous films, Pegg and Wright continue developing the characters and their inter-relationships even as everything falls apart around them. Sure, the end of the humanity seems to be upon them, but there's unfinished business between them that needs sorting out, and besides there are more pints to drink. Along the way, things are spiced up as they meet Ollie's sister Sam (Pike), who shocks Gary by refusing to pick up where they left off. They also encounter a former teacher (Brosnan), the town's crazy old man (Bradley) and a shady guy known as The Reverend (Smiley).
All of the performances are terrific, with Freeman the standout for his gung-ho approach to every scene. Pegg bravely plays Gary like a deeply annoying man-child who no one can stand to be around, but we can't help but identify with him in his nostalgic desperation. In some ways, the Stepford plot is almost irrelevant next to the epic bromance. But it's a lot of fun to watch these guys cope both with the full-on mayhem and their interpersonal baggage. Especially with a script as hilariously sharp as this one is. The story kind of falls apart as the chaos increases, but the dialog is so funny that we never want it to end.
Run time: 109 mins
In Theaters: Friday 23rd August 2013
Box Office USA: $26.0M
Distributed by: Focus Features
Production compaines: Focus Features, Universal Pictures, Big Talk Productions, Working Title Films
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 177 Rotten: 22
IMDB: 7.0 / 10
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg as Gary King, Nick Frost as Andrew Knightley, Martin Freeman as Oliver Chamberlain, Eddie Marsan as Peter Page, Paddy Considine as Steven Prince, Rosamund Pike as Sam Chamberlain, Pierce Brosnan as Guy Shepherd, David Bradley as Basil, Thomas Law as Young Gary, Zachary Bailess as Young Andy, Jasper Levine as Young Steven, James Tarpey as Young Peter, Luke Bromley as Young Oliver, Sophie Evans as Becky Salt, Samantha White as Erika Leekes, Rose Reynolds as Tracy Benson, Richard Hadfield as Young Shane, Flora Slorach as Young Sam, Francesca Reidie as Teenage Twins, Charlotte Reidie as Teenage Twins, Michael Smiley as Reverend Green, Alex Austin as Pale Young Man, Jonathan Aris as Group Leader, Jenny Bede as Fitness Instructor (26), Angie Wallis as Peter's Wife, Paul Bentall as Peter's Dad, Richard Graham as Head Builder, Alice Lowe as Young Lady, Rafe Spall as Young Man, Leo Thompson as Felicity, Steve Oram as Motorcycle Policeman, Julia Deakin as B & B Landlady, Greg Townley as Greg, Sebastian Zaniesienko as Seb, Luke Scott as Luke, Tyler Dobbs as Tyler, Samuel Mak as Sam, Teddy Kempner as Publican 1, Mark Kempner as Publican 2, Nick Holder as Publican 3, Darren Boyd as Shane Hawkins, Paul Kennington as Publican 5, Mike Sarne as Publican 6, Reece Shearsmith as Collaborator, Nicholas Burns as Collaborator, Mark Heap as Publican 7, Kelly Franklin as Kelly, Stacey Franklin as Stacey, James Granstrom as Adrian Keane, Gabe Cronnelly as Upstairs Beehive Man, Patricia Franklin as Upstairs Beehive Lady, Bill Nighy as The Network (voice), Mark Donovan as Big Ugly Bastard, Ricky Champ as Big Ugly Bastard, Ken Bones as Publican 13