Light and not-so-light spoilers ahead…
Edgar Wright directs Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in what some consider the third film in the Cornetto saga of comedy films for the two actors and director. For the uninitiated, the other two are Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The storyline is completely different as always. Here’s the short version: if you are a fan of either of the previous films, stop reading right now and go see this film.
Simon Pegg plays Gary King, leader of the coolest teenage click in his home town. Now he’s 40, in a support group, and he’s trying to recreate events from whence he thought himself the happiest. To do that he will use trickery and deceit to bring together his old blokes.
Andy Knightley (Nick Frost) is the drinking best buddy, ready to get in fights and always by Gary’s side. Nowadays, he’s a responsible executive who hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol in years. Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman) fancied himself the player on the huge cellular phone, now the real state salesman on his bluetooth headset. Steven Prince (Paddy Considine) used to be a bass player, now he supervises construction. Peter Page (Eddie Marsan) is a car salesman, still working for his dad. Eventually joining them will be Sam Chamberlain (Rosamund Pike), Oliver’s sister, who was the crush of both Gary and Steven.
Anybody noticed something regal about their characters’ names? That’s just the tip of the ice cream cone, there’s a lot of easter eggs in the film. Some noticeable, some not.
The biggest stretch of the film is why they decide to join Gary again, as he enthusiastically becomes obsessed with going back to their old home town and doing the biggest pub crawl of them all: the Golden Mile. Twelve pubs in all: The First Post, The Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Cross Hands, The Good Companions, The Trusty Servant, The Two Headed Dog, The Mermaid, The Beehive, The King’s Head, The Hole In The Wall and The World’s End. The titles are obviously not random. Each of those is a reference to what’s coming.
The major twist in the story will involve robots or aliens or both. And before you know it, the unlikely group will be involved in a expected fantastical yet totally logical storyline: extraterrestrial invasion. This is the rare case of one of those movies that is quirky at the start and balls-to-the-wall funny as it goes along. This was the one movie in Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival that I didn’t see (sold out in minutes) and watching it in the theatre is a real treat.
There’s an element of nostalgia here. It’s not hometown pride, but real frienship, tainted and flawed, that appears and doesn’t let you go. It’s a fitting end, pardon the pun, to both this movie and this blood-and-ice-cream saga. It’s really the whole heart to this film.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Simon Pegg’s Gary King character gets annoying at times and we’ve all had that one friends who fancies himself cool although the whole point here that he isn’t. The dialog is fast and loud and if you haven’t watch comedies from the UK you might get lost in a pinch.
Recommended. If you like comedies. And beer. And perhaps, making too much of a mess.
- September 13-15: Montreal Comic-con 2013
(Sources: The World’s End)