You might want to have a beer after you see “The World’s End,” the latest from the creative team of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright.
The successor to “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” is a grown-ups-only blend of comedy and science fiction that runs out of wit only in its last 10 minutes. Up until then, it’s highly entertaining, with terrific action, a clever plot and maddening but lovable characters. It’s a bit like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” meets “The Hangover.”
“The World's End” of the title is the name of a pub, the finale in a challenging pub crawl that Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his buddies tried unsuccessfully to complete about 20 years before. Gary, who obviously drinks too much and has not achieved much in his 30s, sets out to “get the band back together,” so to speak, and complete the pub crawl by having at least one pint in all 12 pubs along the route.
One by one, the disheveled, profane Gary visits Andy (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Oliver (Martin Freeman) and Peter (Eddie Marsan), and cajoles them into joining him on his quest in their hometown of Newton Haven. Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike, “Jack Reacher”) also shows up as they make their rounds. Gary’s friends not only have families and professional obligations, but they also harbor grudges and hurt feelings about Gary’s antics in the past. The old wounds reopen as the pints continue to flow.
Right away, the guys notice there’s a difference in the general ambiance of Newton Haven: Something doesn't feel quite right. But they chalk it up to the town or themselves having changed. What’s really happened, it turns out, is that Newton Haven is the setting for an alien invasion — more of an infestation, actually. And now Gary and his pals have drawn attention to themselves as they begin to uncover what’s going on.
Pegg is at his manic best as the determined, crass scoundrel who somehow manages to be right all the time. He’s the core of the movie and the ensemble, and his energy is contagious. His longtime friends begin to throw caution to the winds as the evening wears on. Also, there’s a very suave cameo by a former James Bond actor who appears to have had a great time with his role.
This is a must-see for aficionados of British humor and for science-fiction fans as well. Cheers!