The World’s End

Simon Pegg (middle) and Nick Frost (far left) in "The World's End"
Simon Pegg (middle) and Nick Frost (far left) in “The World’s End”

Director: Edgar Wright

There must be a good joke about five British actors who walk into a bar, because Edgar Wright, the director of the sloshed sci-fi parody The World’s End, repeats the setup a dozen times over.  Sadly, repeating it doesn’t make his punch line any funnier.  Twenty years after the wildest night of his adolescence, alcoholic wastrel Gary King (Simon Pegg) remains obsessed with the time he and four mates tackled a local pub-crawl.  Seeing as they never finished, he convinces his estranged boyhood cronies (Paddy Considine, Eddie Marson, Martin Freeman, and Nick Frost) to reunite for a second chance at reaching the finish line’s titular watering hole.  The mission stalls when they discover that their quaint hometown has been overrun by robotic pod-people.  For their third collaboration, the comedy team behind Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz offers the same concoction of wry humor and cartoon violence.  Yet this round, the ale comes flat.  Wright’s punchy direction seems even shallower than usual, Pegg’s post-punk disciple, dressed in a black trench coat and combat boots, simply adds to Hollywood’s incessant parade of developmentally arrested slackers, and the Lou Costello-worthy sidekick Frost is wasted playing the stodgiest of four stodgy straight men.  The World’s End is admittedly diverting, and sometimes it recalls John Carpenter’s trenchant satire, They Live.  However, the movie’s ultimately as dumb and repetitive as five drunkards stumbling from bar to bar… to bar… to bar.

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