Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Not with a Bang but with a Giggle

The World's End (2013) is the third movie in Edgar Wright's loose "Cornetto Trilogy": Three movies (with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost thematically connected by a critique of English social conformity and ice cream novelties.

This one features Pegg as the guy you used to pal around with in high school or college who never grew up. He wants to get a bunch of his old buddies together to finish a legendary pub crawl - the Miracle Mile, 12 pubs in one night. As young men, they mad a strong attempt and had the greatest night of their lives. Or at least the greatest of Pegg's life. The others have moved on, gotten married, and in Frost's case, stopped drinking. Yet somehow, they all show up.

This setup is funny enough. The grownup middle-class Brits confronting the wacked out loser they used to like. The pubs that have grown up and gotten complacent too. The nostalgia for those good old days and the relief that they are over, and reluctance to relive them, unless you never left. But as the night goes on, things start getting weird, then weirder. Then deadly.

One of the things I like about Wright's comedy is its precision. Here we get 12 pubs, each with an olde-fashioned pub name, and each name states a theme for the visit: Starting at the First Post, then onto the Old Familiar, which looks just like the first pub, and so on. Of course, there are ordinary jokes and pratfalls, but there is a lot of formalist humor (is that a thing?), where the joke is in the symmetry or symbolism. My analytic mind loves this stuff.

In addition, a hobbit, Martin Freeman, and a 007, Pierce Brosnan, are on hand for the festivities.

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