Edgar Wright’s The World’s End is an apocalyptic comedy, rather like the early-summer release with the confusingly similar title, This is the End. It’s also a bromance like The Hangover, featuring five high-school buddies, now pushing 40, who reunite for an epic pub crawl across their English hometown of Newton Haven. Except it overflows with middle-aged angst over lost youth. And laments the generic nature of our corporate-driven culture. And—as the movie is written by Wright and Simon Pegg (their third such collaboration)—it’s also a witty send-up of genre conventions—this time, alien-invasion flicks. The movie may sound like an unpromising mess, but it’s fun, complicated and emotionally rich.
The pub crawl is initiated by the group’s once-gloriously charismatic leader Gary King (Pegg,). Gary is bound and determined to relive June 22, 1990, the night he and his four mates made an attempt to hit all of Newton Haven’s twelve pubs—a feat known locally as “The Golden Mile.” They didn’t make it to the last, The World’s End, and Gary, an unrepentant drug abuser and alcoholic, is determined that they not fail this time.
While Gary is caught in a state of arrested development, the rest of the gang is successful and reasonably well settled. None of them seem terribly enthused to join the crawl, particularly not Andy (Nick Frost, Pegg’s co-star in the Wright-