Gary King has had enough of rehab. Upon realizing the best night of his life was an epic pub crawl in his early youth, the 40-year-old unrepentant drunk sets out single-mindedly to recreate that night. His group of friends have not kept in touch in twenty years, which works to Gary’s advantage as he rounds them up by tricking each into thinking the others are on board. Equally irritated and captivated by Gary, they gather for the quest.
The friends visit the twelve pubs along the “Golden Mile”, with the intent of downing a pint in each, and it becomes apparent that something is terribly off-kilter. The first indication is that all the pubs seem the same, with the same fake handwritten menus in each. They’ve been gentrified into conformity, or as one puts it, “Starbucked.”
As the guys get drunker, the sameness gets stranger. But as a washed-up failure who thinks average grown-up life means most people are a bunch of boring, mindless drones anyway, Gary is not going to let a mere body-snatching robopocalypse get in the way of his mission to drink the final pint. Identifying with his reluctant friends, the audience is dragged along for the crazy ride.
Billed as the third film in the loosely related “Cornetto Trilogy”, fans of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” will find much to love. They’re different characters, but it’s the familiar theme of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost teaming up to save the town from mindless conformity, ratcheted up to an existential threat. Rounding out the crew are Edgar Wright favorites Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman (who before he was Bilbo was a police officer in Hot Fuzz), and Bill Nighy.
Fast-paced and fun, this is an amusing movie that will you feeling good about humanity’s ability to resist and survive. As a nice bonus to the friends-on-a-quest theme, astute viewers will catch references to The Odyssey, including the Lotus Eaters, the Cyclops, the Underworld, and a high-tech Cyclops. Worth seeing.