THE WORLD'S END (15)
FOLLOWING the success of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright's third part of this trilogy concludes with The World's End, starring co-writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Providing a satirical comment on English life and combining laugh out loud moments with the realisation that growing old is far more frightening a prospect than we choose to acknowledge, the team have managed to produce a movie that doesn't quite reach the dizzy heights of ingenuity and originality of the first but nonetheless, is hugely entertaining.
Maybe it will strike a chord more with the boys than the girls as the guys battle their growing old demons, but there is something here for anyone over the age of 40 to identify with, that gives it a subtle edge and depth beyond its surface comedy.
Pegg is Gary King, a 40-year-old who has lost his way in life, never having progressed from the teenager he once was and wondering where his life went.
When he realises that the greatest moment of his life so far has been the pub crawl he embarked on with his mates at the age of 18 and never completed due to their inebriated state, he gets the old gang together on a mission to complete what they never finished.
Discovering that their old home town is not as golden as they remembered it to be, and struggling to adapt to the changing world and it's new young inhabitants, Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Peter (Eddie Marsan) find themselves reunited on a journey not only of their old pub haunts, but of self-discovery and unfinished business.
Where the film fails is in the progression of the character of Gary, whose self-delusion and insistence on living in the past becomes monotonously painful, despite his friends best efforts to pull him into the here and now.
Instead of growing from the experience as their journey continues, Gary becomes a mere pathetic figure, who refuses to let go of the past in the belief that it is rosier than anything the future has to offer him.
And as the movie tries to stay upbeat and hopeful, Gary constantly pulls it back down again, and any momentum in terms of a sense of the characters moving forward is quickly lost. At times, it's a bit like wading through treacle, and by the end you may just wish that the guys leave Gary behind in a dark alley somewhere to wallow in his own self misery.
What redeems this plot flaw is the comedy, which, as always with this team, is sharp, reflective and incisive, and provides several laugh out loud moments along with cringingly embarrassing titters.
Edgar Wright asked reviewers not to reveal the twists in the movie, and not to mention the names of the surprise guest stars but one of each is worthy of a mention. Rosamund Pike is delightful as Oliver's sister and the love interest for Steven, and as for the plot twist….well, a Pegg/Frost collaboration would just not be the same without a little sci-fi thrown in, and there is more than just a little added here, and it's that added ingredient that turns this movie around and provides the majority of the laughs in the second half.
It's a shame that the ending is a little downbeat, when so many valuable lessons have been learned along the way, but all in all, this is a worthy attempt at the end of a trilogy which stands alone in British film making history for its uniqueness. No-one else does it quite like this.