‘The World’s End’ joyfully mixes laughs, heart and sci-fi thrills

Contributed
Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan in ‘The World’s End.’ Rated R, 109 min. Focus Features, 2013.

“The World’s End” marks the joyful and bizarre reuniting of writer-director Edgar Wright with stars Simon Pegg (who also co-wrote) and Nick Frost – the team behind the similarly offbeat “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” Desperate to relive better times, Gary (Pegg) rounds up his old school buddies (all now pushing 40) to make a final attempt at a 12-bar pub crawl in their home town, but they notice people around them acting strangely. It spoils nothing to reveal here that the residents have been replaced by alien robots.

The real story is about friendship, freedom, and the choices the men make when facing certain doom. The plot is absurd – to say the least – but the laughs come quickly and consistently, mostly thanks to Pegg’s priceless expressions, both facial and verbal.

Pegg and Frost are joined by Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike and a very game Pierce Brosnan in a cast that stays on its toes through some happily unpredictable science-fiction action.

The finale stumbles through big speeches and an unnecessary epilogue, but “The World’s End” delivers a nice mixture of heart, satire and excitement.

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