The team that brought us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz return with this entertaining comedy that gleefully mashes up the genres as an old mates’ reunion morphs into a middle England alien apocalypse.
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and writer Edgar Wright take us on a nostalgic trip about friendship and the difficulty of letting go of the past.
Pegg plays the superficial and self-regarding Gary, a man who is still wearing the same T-shirt, playing the same cassette tape in the same car as 20 years ago.
He manages to convince four old mates to return to their suburban home to complete a pub crawl that they never quite finished.
Cue an awkward get together as the friends – Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddy Marsan – are dragged from pub to pub by Pegg, who manically tries to recreate the camaraderie of the old days, which his friends have successfully left behind but he is forever reliving.
However, something is not right with the locals. The gags come thick and fast, some with smart nods to the previous films in the series.
Fortunately, The World’s End moves the joke forward by developing all the geeky and loser aspects of the Pegg/Frost characters, now distilled in the shape of Gary.
Whether its fast editing of pints being pulled or over the top action scenes as these very ordinary blokes find themselves battling with alien robots, Wright shows his mastery of genre, skillfully playing with the familiar sci-fi elements while letting the audience in on the joke.
Rosamund Pike does well with a slightly underwritten role as Pegg’s old squeeze who joins the lads for the mayhem.
There is a gloomy underside to the comedy, touching on addiction, delusion and the disappointments of growing up.
For fans of the Wright-Pegg-Frost schtick, this is a fittingly funny and smart third act to the set.
Review by Joe Gill