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World's End, The (AF)


Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, David Bradley, Reece Shearsmith, Nicholas Burns, Thomas Law, Zachary Bailess, Mark Heap

Director: Edgar Knight

If Simon Pegg (the one miscast member of the new crew of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek reboot) was even half as funny as he appears to think he is then, for me, he’d be at least five times funnier than he is in this loud and lurid – and destined for success – comedy combination of ‘Carry on Boozing’ and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. In fairness, I should add, Pegg is funnier as co-writer, with director Edgar Wright who led Pegg and his crew through the comic capers of zombies in Shaun of the Dead and corny cops in Hot Fuzz.

Happily the queasy bromance between Pegg and his regular costar Nick Frost that marred the already less than impressive Paul is over here. Frost is now all grown up and a lawyer. Pegg’s other friends from his teenage years have also turned into adults, unlike Pegg who is as brash and shallow as ever. Eddie Marsan works in the family car showroom, Martin Freeman is an estate agent and Paddy Considine is divorced and works in the construction business.

One by one, Pegg persuades his old friends to join him and return to their hometown of Newton Haven and relive past pleasures by attempting to complete the ‘Golden Mile’ pub-to-pub drinking marathon they abandoned all those years ago.

But when they arrive in Newton Haven, the place appears to have changed radically and is now populated, ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (a plot twist apparently given away in the trailer) by human-alien replicants who, ingeniously, have blue blood, a trait one has come to believe is an essential attribute of the English upper classes. So can we presume alien invaders have a sense of humour?

The film is at its funniest during the scenes where Pegg persuades his friends to join him in pub-crawling. When Our Assorted Heroes head for Newton Haven, good jokes become fewer and fewer and the whole affair, like Pegg, becomes unfunnier. Still, in fairness, there are probably enough laughs to make the movie a hit.

It won't harm its prospects that the film is splattered with a lavish selection of four-letter words and other filthy language which surely must work well for a future on Channel 4?

My happiest moment was when Pegg looked at his teenage self and said, “Oh my God. I’m so cute!” It left me with the feeling he still probably believes that to be true even now that he’s 43.

And there’s product placement too, something that no self-respecting film would be without these days.

The World’s End is the third of director Wright’s trio of Cornetto films (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End so called because of their different flavours. And so a Cornetto label makes a notable appearance here. So presumably it’s free ice creams all round for cast and crew?

Alan Frank

UK 2013. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 19 Jul 2013