Absolutely Anything (2015) review

absolutely anything


More like Absolutely Awful. A failed teacher (Pegg) is given godlike powers by aliens to test humanity. He mostly uses his powers to eat and dress without using his hands and to chase Kate Beckinsale. Expect lots of toilet humor, a boring script and bad special effects.

Featuring an appearance by Eddie Izzard and the voice of Robin Williams, interesting actors such as Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale, a cute dog and the full cast of Monty Python as the Council of Intergalactic Superior Beings, Absolutely Anything promises to dazzle the audience. Directed by one of the Monty Python members, Terry Jones, this is the story of Neil Clarke (Pegg) a failed writer/teacher who is granted omnipotence by a council of galactic overlords. He also has a crush on his neighbor Catherine (Beckinsale).

On the basis of this, Absolutely Anything sounds like a rehash of Bruce Almighty, and it is. Instead of Bruce challenging God to smite him, aliens find the voyager probe and decide to test humanity to see if they are worthy to join the galactic community or be destroyed. A random human generator picks out Neil, after first getting slightly stuck on Sarah Palin and Justin Bieber. It is really a very silly movie, and it never pretends to be otherwise.

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The story is so basic that Neil is even literally asked by a colleague: “if you could do anything, what would you do?” Oh come on, give us the impression that this is not a hackneyed movie we’re watching. Neil also has a dog to talk to while he is alone in his apartment, to explain to us all his thoughts and feelings. And a lot of the humor is dependent on special effects, which all look a bit cheap so that doesn’t help. The fantasy logic doesn’t make much sense either. It is more like a genie fulfills Neil’s wishes in ways that he has no control over rather than him having superpowers.

It feels like a quickly-slapped together film. Take some actors, some storylines that you wrote in an afternoon and some special effects, slap it all together and voila. Simon Pegg tries to inject some spice and character into his lines, but his character is so simple and uninspired that the whole film feels bland and a bit childish. Kate Beckinsale doesn’t have much more to do than to be a love interest and deal with annoying guys who creep on her. She’s not a real character either.

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Halfway through the film, it turns from dumb to ridiculous. A little cameo by Robin Williams as the voice of Neil’s dog cannot save this horribly bad sequence. While Robin Williams is talking, the dog still keeps its mouth shut, making it confusing to look at. And then the tedious love story between Neil and Catherine takes a few turns that are just plain ridicilous, where Catherine decides on a whim to have sex with Neil and then decides on a whim that he is gay and she never wants to see him again.

The problem is that it repeats the same joke over and over again: Neil makes a wish, and some ambiguity in the wish makes things work out wrong. With the premise of the film, they could have done anything, but the result is rather dumb. It’s really not a good movie. I chuckled once or twice but I mostly groaned for it being childish. Especially because the film was hyped for bringing Monty Python together, it is a letdown.

It’s uninspired and childish. Avoid.

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