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'The World's End' focuses on binge drinking

By Sarah Sanders Petersen

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 23 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

From left, Eddie Marsan as Peter, Paddy Considine as Steven, Nick Frost as Andy and Simon Pegg as Gary in "The World's End."

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This Friday, "The World's End," starring Simon Pegg, opens in theaters as the last film of the so-called "Cornetto Trilogy."

The R-rated trilogy, which includes "Shaun of the Dead" (2004) and "Hot Fuzz" (2007), ends with a journey of five friends who re-create the pub crawl they started 20 years before.

Pegg stars as a recovering alcoholic who still lives in the past. It is in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting when he first gets the idea that in order to gain closure and move on with his life, he must reunite with his old friends and finish their pub crawl to their final destination, The World's End pub.

Although Pegg has not changed much in the 20 years, he finds that all of his old teenage pals have moved on with their lives, each with a family and a career. After his desperate plea, the five friends agree to join together once again in order to return back to their hometown and finish their binge night once and for all. But what none of the five friends expect is to find that their small hometown is not as friendly as they remember.

"The World's End," which also has sci-fi elements, has received many positive reviews from outlets such as Fox News and the Los Angeles Times and has been described as unique and witty. While Fox News reports that "The World's End" was able to successfully forgo crudeness and raunchiness, the Times did question the amount of time spent in the many pubs.

"There are arguably a few bars too many on the way to the World's End, not just for the characters but for viewers as well," Mark Olsen wrote.

In an interview with Wired.com, Pegg was asked why each film in the trilogy prominently features drinking, specifically in "The World's End."

"It’s one of those things that men do in the U.K. — they go out and they get really, really drunk," Pegg said.

Yet in an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Pegg described his own personal distaste for the life in a pub.

"I don't really go into pubs so much," Pegg said. "I don't drink anyway, so it's kind of, it's not part of my life."

Concerned for the reactions that might come from the new film, the New Zealand Herald questioned co-writer Edgar Wright about the consequences and effects that could come from the film.

"There's a huge binge drinking problem here in New Zealand," Mathew Backhouse said. "Are you expecting a backlash to the binge drinking in the film?"

"I don't think so," Wright responded. "As you'll see in the movie, it doesn't glorify drinking. It definitely shows the negative sides of it, too."

A study conducted in 2012 found that children ages 10-14 who watch movies with drinking scenes are twice as likely to start drinking themselves, and are more likely to move on to binge drinking.

"Alcohol use in the movies is part of alcohol advertising," James Sargent, a professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth, told NPR.

Sargent expressed that drinking scenes can be found in almost any film, as it is not directly incorporated into the rating system. Therefore, parents need to be aware of such content and prepare their children for it.

"There's just as much in PG-13 movies as there is in R movies," Sargent said. "A lot of families sit around and watch movies together, but it's uncommon for them to discuss things. You want to teach them to be skeptical of what they see."

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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