Rated: R for pervasive language including sexual references. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: August 23, 2013 Released by: Focus Features
A silly satire on British society grabs hold of middle-age nostalgia with gusto and chaos, but The World's End is a more wearying than memorable excursion from Simon Pegg (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World).
In spite of a bewildering frenetic atmosphere than bows to earlier collaborations between the two including Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead this drinking marathon of a long-coming reunion (taking a weekend off from being 'grown-ups') at the home town of Gary (Pegg) with old chums Andy (Nick Frost), Steve (Paddy Considine), Ollie (Martin Freeman), and Pete (a fairly humorous Eddie Marsan of Hancock and Snow White and the Huntsman) doesn't do too much with its observational wit and local mores even if fans of the two will at least delight in the soundtrack (echoing the George H.W. Bush administration).
A "pub crawl" the way Gary intended allows for him to get his buddies into all sorts of mischief and mayhem and relational angst ensues with humanity taking on a strange look in a way that resembles The Stepford Wives or more closely Invasion of the Body Snatchers. So, in dealing with the fact that this may be the end as they enjoy downing many a pint they consider lessening the strain amongst themselves. And, folks they remember from their times together give them at least a glimpse, including wild codger (David Bradley), Ollie's fetching sister Sam (a wasted Rosamund Pike) who awakens feelings in Steve and Gary, as well a teacher (Pierce Brosnan).
The scripting of Pegg and Wright which has a sublime apocalyptic feel to it may warm to fans of an earlier unfettered, insane comedy this summer This Is The End is like an arsenal of puns and gags with action going for broke. Obviously, they know how to write and stage a scene but many go on too long and the editing around some arguably astute wit can be a little too haywire without enough narrative to round out what is an extended final reel (like the exuberant buddy-cop parody Hot Fuzz).
It almost seems the end of a trilogy (Cornetto) which it really is and Pegg and Frost, better together in the aforementioned films and ones like Paul, are happy to play the kind of the part the other has handled deftly before. The World's End has a certain inspired blind drunk childishness about it that can move forward pretty well when it comes to the warmth and interaction of its characters, but is an amiable, yet forgettable cinematic ale best served in close proximity to new parents William and Kate.
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