Frost and Pegg reach the end of the road
The World's End (15A, general release, 109 minutes)
DIRECTOR: EDGAR WRIGHT STARS: SIMON PEGG, NICK FROST, MARTIN FREEMAN, EDDIE MARSAN, ROSAMUND PIKE
The World's End is the concluding part of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's 'Cornetto trilogy', which began in fine style in 2004 with Shaun of the Dead and continued more than competently with the 2007 comedy Hot Fuzz.
Like those two films, The World's End couldn't be more English if it tried, and in fact it occurred to me while watching it that you might actually have to be English yourself in order to properly appreciate it.
It all starts well enough, as Messrs Frost and Pegg continue their investigation of the theme of arrested development.
Pegg plays Gary King, a single man in his late 30s who's never really moved beyond his memorable adolescence.
In particular, he's obsessed by memories of an attempt to drink his way around the 12 pubs of his hometown Newton Haven with his four best friends. Their failure to do so haunts him, and so he sets out to persuade Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Gary's estranged best friend Andrew (Nick Frost) to accompany him on another attempt to conquer the so-called 'Golden Mile'.
They agree, but all four are now adults with wives and children and high-powered jobs. Gary still dresses like a teenager and listens to the Soup Dragons and Suede, but his enthusiasm for the pub crawl is dampened by the fact that none of the landlords seem to recognise him.
That's because they've been replaced by robotic aliens, and soon Gary and his mates are fighting to escape from Newton Haven with their lives.
Initially at least, it's a pleasure to watch Pegg, Frost and the accomplished supporting cast trade witticisms as they embark on what they think will be an especially dreary pub crawl.
Frost and Pegg's script is at its best when drawing a sympathetic portrait of the man-child Gary, and wryly commenting on the homogenisation of Britain.
But once the aliens turn up things begin to feel a bit too familiar.
The film deteriorates badly in its final third, and ends in some confusion.