Review: In 'World's End,' one hilarious apocalypse
This film publicity image released by Focus Features shows, from left, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Eddie Marsan in a scene from "The World's End." (AP Photo/Focus Features, Laurie Sparham)
Sci-fi movies, we all know, create unlikely heroes, and this summer's no exception.
Remember Brad Pitt as a U.N. inspector in "World War Z"? He just wanted to hang at home with his family, but he had to save the world from raging zombies. And Matt Damon in "Elysium"? He played a reformed car thief who just wanted to heal himself — and suddenly, he needed to rescue the planet.
But Simon Pegg in "The World's End," the latest work of brilliant inanity from director Edgar Wright, takes this whole reluctant-savior-of-humanity thing to a new plane. Twenty years after high school, Pegg's scruffy, unshaven, never-gonna-grow-up, substance-abusing Gary can't hold down a job. His idea of a relationship is a quick tryst in the loo of a pub. This is a guy who's gonna save us — or at least, parts of suburban England — from an alien invasion? Lord help us.
This film publicity image released by Focus Features shows, from left, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, Paddy Considine and Martin Freeman in a scene from "The World's End." (AP Photo/Focus Features, Laurie Sparham)
Of course, if you're a fan of Pegg's earlier two films with Wright, the 2004 "Shaun of the Dead" and the 2007 "Hot Fuzz," you'll know that such plot absurdities are not only par for the course, but crucial to the delightful sensibilities of this genre-twisting oeuvre.
Wright has called this movie the last in a trilogy, and what unites the three is that each is a sendup — though a loving one — of a genre: "Shaun" is a zombie film, "Hot Fuzz" a buddy cop movie, and "The World's End" one of those bittersweet coming-home films that show how difficult it is to really, well, go home. Because it's never the same.