World’s End, Cunningly Absurd (Film Review)



Weird, wacky and delightfully absurd the action comedy The World’s End delivers more of the bizarre minds of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.  The film gets as goofy and crazy as their last two films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with the quick witted British banter that keeps on giving till the very end.  While I’m not completely sold on this sketch filled outing it does have its merits.

The mad cap comedy opens with Gary King (Simon Pegg) now in his 40’s just leaving rehab after years of not dealing well with his lifestyle.  Thinking back to the days when he and his four buddies Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Peter (Eddie Marsan) had some cool times together Gary gets the feeling he’s ready to reconnect.

Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), Gary (Simon Pegg), Andy (Nick Frost) and Peter (Eddie Marsan)

Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), Gary (Simon Pegg), Andy (Nick Frost) and Peter (Eddie Marsan)

Back in their twenties the group took on the world together until Gary went off the deep end leaving the boys with the tab. The thing that did them in was a wild and wicked pub crawl drinking marathon of 12 locations on the golden mile in their home town of Newton Haven.  The drunk tour was supposed to finish at The World’s End pub, but they never got there.

Gary arrives in London where in some fun filled individual meetings with each of the guys they agree to do it one last time determined to make it to the finish line.  They meet at Newton Haven train station with Gary picking them up in the same car that was there transportation during the original pub crawl and they take off for their first pint.  Writer Director Edgar Wright keeps the film moving at a fast clip with the boys reminiscing and cutting up at several of the pubs in the order Gary has mapped out. Along the way Wright puts the men in some very bizarre situations including run-ins with the law, revenge fights and a lot of other silly circumstances beyond belief.

Andy, Sam (Rosamund Pike), Steven, Peter, Oliver and Gary

Andy, Sam (Rosamund Pike), Steven, Peter, Oliver and Gary after a few pubs

The film gets over the top with the slapstick script with each of the pubs having a different sketch ending in the boys getting booted out. When they discover aliens have taken over the towns people turning them into robots, Wright fills the film with comical action making heads roll and arms being used as clubs as the guys fight their way to the final ale house. The quick witted film gets really ridiculous often delivering so much chaos that it’s hard to separate intended actions from a free for all.

The actors look like they are having a great time with their characters keeping within the plot lines, but I’m sure they added a lot of adlibbing. Pegg and Frost take on most of the action as they fight back to back through their hometown.  While Gary resembles each of the other characters Pegg has played in the past two British hits, Frost does deviate somewhat from Ed in Shaun of the Dead and Butterman in Hot Fuzz.  As Andy he takes more of a co-lead character as Gary’s best friend and confident in the pub crawl.

Director Edgar Wright positions Martin Freeman on the set of The World's End

Director Edgar Wright positions Martin Freeman on the set of The World’s End

Direction by Edgar Wright is pinpoint and creative getting the cast to follow his chaotic path to the World’s End pub. He’s had a lot of practice being the chief in both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz so putting the cast through their paces here looks like a walk in the park.  He keeps the dialogue snappy, the action hectic and the pervasive language paramount in his form of wacky comedy that the film’s many followers crave.

The World’s End has been rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language including sexual references.  The language may be English, but the cast being British the accent does take some time getting used to. Hang in there because the film gets so outlandish you won’t even need to know what the characters are saying most of the time.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The wacky film gets high marks for the need of bizarre escapism. (B)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike.
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Genre: Comedy, Action
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references    
Running Time: 1 hr 49 min
Opening Date: August 23, 2013
Distributed by: Focus Features

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