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By Rima Sabina Aouf
August 06, 2013
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By Rima Sabina Aouf
August 06, 2013
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A few people are saying the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright partnership is getting tired. There might be some truth to that, but it isn't tired yet. The World's End — the third film in their 'Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy', a series of comic genre mash-ups that also happen to feature a random Cornetto ice-cream in each one — is a whirlwind of exuberant humour it's easy to get swept up in. Sure, some of the surprise of the mash-up twist has faded since 2004's breakthrough Shaun of the Dead, but the team has also matured as actors, filmmakers and observers of the human condition.

The particular human condition they're concerned with this time around is the sad state of being stuck in one's halcyon days, particularly when they're situated in high school, particularly when you're now nearing 40. Pegg plays the thusly afflicted man-child, and it's far from the loveable, self-effacing type of loser character we're used to seeing him be.

As Gary King, he is a real loser, still sporting his teenage sludgy black hair and greatcoat, still driving 'The Beast' registered in someone else's name, still embarrassingly overconfident and still sleazing onto women in the loos. He's so close to being unlikeable, yet there's just enough good in him — and just a smidge of relatability — that we want him to win on his ridiculous quest to unite his high school buddies and claim the victory that should have been theirs 20 years earlier: completion of a 12-stop pub crawl known as the Golden Mile.

Gary's more capably adult friends — Andrew (Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Oliver (Martin Freeman) and Peter (Eddie Marsan) — want out of the caper not long after arriving back in their insular home town, Newton Haven. But then they discover the place has gone Invasion of the Body Snatchers in their absence, and fighting off invading alien robot hordes takes precedence over fighting each other. All the while, following some spectacular drunk-person reasoning, they continue the course of their pub crawl to the mythic World's End bar.

In some ways, The World's End doesn't feel like the final movie of the trilogy; it has the anarchic, careening, appropriately drunken energy of an early oeuvre picture, but one suspects that mood is actually harder to control than it looks. The movie is also unexpectedly mature in its human drama, teasing out the fraught relationship we have with our histories and ultimately encouraging us to go a little less hard on our past selves.

There's great joy in watching The World's End, and plenty of rewards in the team's signature brand of comedy. Maybe it is time to move on from the genre mash-up, but this is a thundering way to go out.

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