Diego's Review of The World's End
The World's End(2013)
Thank God for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. If it weren't for them, us R-rated comedy fans might be stuck with movies like the one I just reviewed (I dare not speak its name). This duo, coupled with writer/director Edgar Wright, is one of the most formidable and consistently awesome comedy teams working today. In the past, they've given us Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and the cult TV show Spaced. However, Pegg and Frost have also given us Paul, which didn't quite measure up. And to be honest, I never liked Shaun of the Dead as much as everyone says I should. So I went into The World's End apprehensive yet hopeful.
Did it deliver? Mostly. The World's End is about a thirtysomething slacker (Pegg) who, in a fit of early-onset mid-life-crisis syndrome, unites four of his childhood friends for a trip back to their old hometown and complete a pub crawl. This beginning is very strong, and benefits greatly from Pegg's absolute commitment to his role. Also, I was glad to see Pegg playing a lower status character than Frost-- in both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Pegg was more respectable and often looked down on Frost's characters. But this time, the tables are turned, as Frost has become a high-powered corporate suit, while Pegg has done nothing with his life. The juxtaposition between these two unlikely friends is maddeningly funny, and it's plain and simply enjoyable to watch. This is some of the best entertainment this summer.
However, the movie did have a certain flaw when it came to the supporting cast-- sure, there's the gratuitous James Bond actor cameo, and the other actors give it their all, but that's not enough. They're in a movie with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, so they end up being outshined by the duo no matter how much effort they put in. If the three other main characters had been in a movie of their own, it would probably be a very entertaining film, and their performances would stand out greatly. But alongside these two comedic geniuses, they end up getting drowned out by Pegg's bombastic antics and Frost's levelheaded humor.
As the night wears on, the gang notices something strange about the townspeople. They have all been replaced by alien robot clones that bleed blue ink. This is a creative premise, but I would one day love to see a Pegg/Frost collaboration that has both good dialogue and a story that does not involve them battling a town of people. In all three installments of their Cornetto Trilogy, the duo have been fighting off large groups of people in quaint little towns, whether they're zombies, alien robots, or psychopathic villagers hell-bent on winning the Village of the Year Award. These guys have a lot of great ideas, and I wish they would use them a little more often. The same premise repeated over and over again can get old, no matter how much you shake up the story around it.
In the end, only Pegg and Frost are left to fend off the robots, and in a fantastic climactic sequence, Pegg not only reveals his character to be far deeper than we first thought, but he also defeats the alien force by arguing with it. I loved this sequence, but it is unfortunately undercut by the completely over-the top finale: The world actually ends. And no, I don't give a fuck about saying "Spoiler alert" here, because it's IN THE FUCKING TITLE OF THE MOVIE. This is way, waaay overblown, and I was somewhat disappointed that this movie had such an explosive (literally) and over-the-top ending. I mean, I guess I should have expected it, but it wasn't the ending I wanted out of the film. After seeing these emotionally deep, funny, and enthralling characters wreak mayhem for an hour and a half, a climax this big didn't fit the tone of the rest of the film. But maybe that's just me.
Fortunately, The World's End is able to make up for most of its flaws merely by utilizing the considerable charm of its main characters and their snappy, hilarious dialogue. This movie is very well written (which is to be expected from this comedic team), and it clicks along with a lightning pace. It's a funny thing to watch incoherent drunk guys rattle off very intelligent and funny dialogue while they should be face-down in a gutter somewhere after drinking twelve pints-- EACH. It's really altogether a warm, fuzzy, and (dare I say it) feel-good movie. But not feel-good in the way you know it. This is a feel-good movie for R-rated comedy fans. Sure, it's sweet and good-hearted, but it's also got a crude edge that audiences love. The World's End isn't out to win any Oscars, but it's definitely one of the most entertaining films of the year.
Final Score for The World's End: 6/10 stars. It has its flaws, but it's hard for me to seriously judge such a silly and fun movie. Pegg and Frost are epic as always, and although the payoff isn't exactly what audiences want, it's certainly a fun time at the movies. I don't know if the story ever fully cohered though (a lot of the jokes, especially at the end, will go over the heads of viewers who haven't seen Spaced), but it should provide ample entertainment for even the most demanding viewers. Bottom line: Hot Fuzz is still the best, but this movie is worthy of second place.