Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Absolutely Anything: Film Review

Absolutely Anything: Film Review

Cast: Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Eddie Izzard, Rob Riggle
Director: Terry Jones

It could have been so good.

Using the remaining Monty Python team as the voices for aliens and having Simon Pegg as a hapless human caught in their plan, Absolutely Anything is a film that never quite reaches its potential.

Pegg plays sadsack teacher Neil, who's desperately in love with his downstairs neighbour Catherine (the ever radiant Kate Beckinsale) but who lacks the edge to do anything about it.

One day on a whim, a group of aliens presiding on high choose a random human to be granted the powers to do "absolutely anything" with - and end up bestowing this on Neil....

Riffing on Bruce Almighty, Absolutely Anything is another of those movies which had some serious comic potential, but ends up feeling like a sketch the original Monty Python team would have jettisoned or used as an ongoing non-sequitur gag in one of their films.

Boasting an incredible Brit cast (Joanna Lumley, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Eddie Izzard) who are largely wasted, Pegg flounders as Neil, trying to imbue the usual loser character with a bit of edge, but floundering around dealing with a series of silly scenarios that border on the tedious rather than the chucklesome in this what if an idiot had all the powers in the world. Pegg channels his usual charm as the hapless guy caught in the middle, and he gels well with the gorgeous Beckinsale's just looking for a decent guy Catherine, but it never quite hangs together as it should.

Rob Riggle pushes things over the edge as Catherine's stalker and even Robin Williams, in what would be his last role, adds to the syrupy mess as Dennis, Neil's dog, who's biscuit and trouser-leg obsessed. The Americans add little to this comedy except to compound the clumsiness of its execution.

Channeling some of Douglas Adams' Hitch-hikers Guide To The Galaxy's Vogons, the Python's CGI renderings are nicely executed, but poorly scripted and fail to build on the premise of their return.

Quite frankly, Absolutely Anything would have worked better if the story had put aside its more fart-obsessed silliness and embraced its childish premise; as a kids' comedy, this film would have had some real legs and a more amused audience as it heads towards its Python-esque elements of silliness in its final stages.

NZ Audiences may get one moment of laughs when there are declarations of war towards the end, but quite frankly, Absolutely Anything offers very few laughs elsewhere. It's a mess of a film and a travesty of wasted talent.


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