Magazine article Variety

They've Got That Drinking Feeling

Magazine article Variety

They've Got That Drinking Feeling

Article excerpt

They've Got That Drinking Feeling

The World's End

Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost

Five men pushing middle age go out drinking and get slaughtered, in some cases quite literally, in "The World's End;' the latest highly enjoyable exercise in jaunty pastiche from writer-director Edgar Wright and writer-thesp Simon Pegg, the brains behind "Shaun of the Dead," and "Hot Fuzz?' Although a fraction less gut-bustingly goon' than its predecessors, this sci-fi-themed quest story about a deadly pub crawl has more emotional heft, partly thanks to impressive supporting turns from Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan. The film has already grossed more than $11 million in the U.K. and is due out Stateside Aug. 23.

Feckless fortysomething man-child Gary King (Pegg) decides to reassemble "the five musketeers," a band of old friends who haven't really seen each other since high school. Gary wants to have another try at completing the Golden Mile, during which the participants must drink a pint of beer at each of the 13 pubs in their home town of Newton Haven. By tradition, the last stop must be at the World's End, a common pub moniker in Blighty that acquires extra significance here.

Unlike Gary, the other members of the group now seemingly act their age and hold down proper jobs. In the case of mild-mannered Peter (Marsan), that means working at his dad's car showroom to support his wife and kids. Money-minded Oliver (Martin Freeman) has become a real-estate agent, while recently divorced Steven (the ever-flawless Considine), perhaps the sharpest of the bunch, works in construction. All agree to join in Gary's scheme, only because he promises that Andrew (Wright and Pegg's usual wingman, Nick Frost), now a high-powered lawyer, has said he'll come, too.

Once the first act is finished, the men duly begin their trek down memory lane on a summer's night, only to find their old stomping ground isn't quite the same as they remember it. Most of the pubs, as revealed in one of the pic's best jokes, have lost much of their unique character. Even creepier is the fact that some local faces seem to have barely aged a day.

It's a bit of a shame that the trailer completely gives away the film's first big twist (if you care to preserve the surprise, read no further): that residents of Newton Haven have been replaced by mechanical replicants for reasons explained only later.

No doubt the marketing departments involved felt it necessary to leak this spoiler in order to sufficiently convey the pic's horror-thriller aspects, but thankfully there are more twists and surprises in store, stacking reveal upon reveal to near-ludicrous levels that self-consciously evoke the Quatermass films from the 1950s. …

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