Along with brewing delicious teas, having a passion for football and swearing, comedy is just something the English have a gift for. Thanks to Shakespeare they received a 500 year boost ahead of the rest of the world to the point where it’s in their genetic code to be witty and topical.
This is why when Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were culminating ‘Shaun of the Dead’ all they had to do was link that off-brand humor with a revered genre that audiences across the world could familiarize. Not only was a revolution formed, fueled by a newfound appreciation for English comedy, but a hilarious trilogy created followed by the action spoof ‘Hot Fuzz’ and concluded with this year’s sci-fi romp, ‘The Worlds End’. Not only is it the most appropriately titled movie of the year, but one of the most entertaining, creative, riotous and endearing.
Centered on man-child Gary King—played energetically by Simon Pegg in a far cry performance from his normal passive goofball—who possesses an inability to grow out of 1989. As a result, he rounds up is old gang of friends (Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan) for a pup crawl they failed to complete years ago. Along with the aforementioned skills, it seems the Brits are also impeccable chuggers of fine beers. It’s a marvel to witness all on its own.
But not all is well in their old home town, as even some of the most influential people in their lives seem to have no recollection on who they are. Eventually, after a shockingly vibrant bathroom battle with some hoodies (slang!), they realize the entire town has been taken over by jelly-filled robots. What once was a comedy about a man using his friends to fuel his alcoholism becomes a fast-paced, bare-knuckle sci-fi satire…about a man using his friends to fuel his alcoholism.
Director and co-writer Edgar Wright is clearly a filmmaker who uses his experiences to fuel his work. Though the action in ‘Hot Fuzz’ was mostly inspired by the ridiculous actioniers of the last 20 years, Wright injects what he learned from ‘Scott Pilgrim’ in the many bar-room beat-downs. Not only is the editing slick but also the fact looms regarding how these men learned to fight in the first place. Like ‘Pilgrim’ being able to take on a few men at once using karate and wrestling moves just came naturally to these men. Normally this would be a problem but a style of fighting involving bar stools and trying to fight while not spilling they’re drink evolves into something innovative.
But even as the body parts fly screenwriters Pegg and Wright never forget to maintain their sense of humor. Whether its a bunch of grown men reluctantly watching their friend run to the nearest pub with the giddy of a child sprinting to a candy store, or just them sitting around swapping old stories the humor has matured to a more human level than their previous efforts. But like any good writers, they escalate that humor when the pace kicks up, avoiding the pit fall of an action comedy that never blends the two.
Wright continues his spinning cog of updates not just stylistically, but character wise as well. In a dual role reversal, Pegg and Frost continue to show their talents swapping their normal archetypes of the buffoon and the level-headed voice of reason. Pegg plays this lunatic, narcissistic mess with so much fun it’s impossible to hate this apparent twat (more slang!), but you still get why these guys loathe him. Frost, not playing his usual lovable oaf, takes a serious turn as the reasonable best friend who hates Gary the most, and kinda seems like an ass himself, but is marvel to watch as he finally unloads his fists of drunken fury on a hoard of robots. Sure he’s not the funniest character anymore, but he’s the most enjoyable to watch go mental (I’m getting good).
What concludes between the two during the finale is the best possible way to end this trilogy of brotherly comradery: faced with possible death, here is a man who detests his former friend but is willing to go the worlds end to stop him from drinking anymore whereas the other just wants one last beer-fueled romp with his boys because, without it, he has nothing. ‘The World’s End’ is not only the end of their journey of confronting their past, but the accumulation of this now classic and beloved trilogy of friendship. And with a climax that focuses not only on the friends sticking together but creating the funniest scene in the movie involving a drunken argument with an alien A.I. system reminds everyone what the whole point of these movies were.
Though it and has a peculiar final minute or two, ‘The Worlds End’ remains consistently funny thanks to the charm and natural chemistry of the leads with action scenes that give the film the extra amount of spark it needs to make it a truly original work of comedy gold. Though Pegg will go on to his ‘Star Trek’ movies and Wright to continue his work on ‘Ant-Man’, the humbleness of this movie, and the memory of the ones preceding it, reminds viewers that no matter how crazy life gets, it will always be the even crazier journeys with your good friends that will always have the most impact. Especially if they end with fish and chips (Four, and I’m out).