Movie review: Crawl, don’t run, to see “The World’s End”

By Columbus Alive
From the August 22, 2013 edition

This summer sees its second comedy (joining “This is the End”) dealing with the apocalypse hit theaters this weekend. This is, apparently, how the world ends. Not with a whimper, but a laugh.

“The World’s End” reteams the stars and director of confirmed modern cult classics “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” and is surely of must-see status for fans of those films. Simon Pegg and Co. aren’t straying far from formula here, but we’ll take it.

In 1990, a British teen named Gary King and his friends attempted an epic pub crawl in their hometown, aiming to hit each of 12 watering holes with a final drink at a bar named The World’s End. The best laid plans of mice and men who imbibe 12 pints of beer are doomed to fail.

Two decades later, Gary (Simon Pegg) has aged but never quite grown up. He rallies his reluctant mates — all of whom are now responsible adults — to return home and recreate the pub crawl. Then things get … weird.

“World’s End” works best as a boozy buddy comedy, and there are more laughs in the first 30 minutes than all three “Hangover” movies. Pegg and Nick Frost are two great comedic tastes that taste great together, and they have some fun flipping the script on the straight guy/wild card personas they usually rock.

There’s more fun to be had in the eventual calamities that befall them, so I won’t spoil anything, but the action twist is less effective here than in “Shaun” or “Hot Fuzz.”

But director Edgar Wright does manage to make a suitably epic finale for this loosely connected trilogy. He might not trump the previous films, but he comes close to matching them. Cheers to that.