Director Edgar Wright re-teams with stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for the last delicious lick of their self-described Cornetto trilogy (each film a different flavour), following up goofy genre spoofs Shaun of the Dead (zombie horror) and Hot Fuzz (buddy cop movie) with The World’s End, a brilliantly bonkers take on alien invasion sci-fi films.
Buffs will detect echoes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Stepford Wives and the novels of John Wyndham, but underpinning Pegg and Wright’s script – and giving it appeal beyond the geeks – is a shrewdly observant and hilariously funny story of male friendship and the perils of hanging on to the past.
Still attired in Gothic black coat and Sisters of Mercy T-shirt, Pegg’s 40-ish Gary King is the one who hasn’t moved on from adolescence. And he’s determined to recapture the best night of his life, when he and his teenage best friends attempted, but failed to complete, an epic pub crawl through the cosy garden-city streets of their hometown Newton Haven.
Somehow, he cons and cajoles estranged friends Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steve (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Andy (Frost) to return to Newton Haven and join him in his quest to down twelve pints in twelve pubs, although these days Andy is sticking to water and the other members of the ‘five Musketeers’ have become fairly sobersided, too. But bigger shocks are in store.
As the quintet begin their crawl, encountering Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), Gary’s old fling, along the way, it dawns on them that there’s something weird about Newton Haven. I’ll leave it to you to discover precisely why the town’s pubs have turned into corporate clones and why its residents look so blandly conformist, but you can rest assured that Wright and Pegg serve up some glorious gags, fizzing action scenes and cannily timed surprises.
In cinemas from Friday 19th July.
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