Director: Terry Jones
Writers: Terry Jones (screenplay), Gavin Scott (screenplay)
Stars: Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar
It has to be said that although I am delighted with the rise and success of Simon Pegg over the last decade in various roles and indeed in various franchises that I love, it is rather pleasing to see him play these roles that remind us of Shaun from his smash hit comedy “Shaun of the Dead”
Pegg thrives on playing the goofy, slightly insecure underdog with a hint of slob and in “Absolutely Anything” you are taken back to these characteristics that made him a household name in the first place.
A movie with an Alien Council portrayed by the surviving members of the Monty Python team? Oh yes please! It is also Robin Williams last credited role albeit in a voice role.
Firstly the movie itself isn’t one of Pegg’s greatest films but all the right ingredients are in there to keep you entertained for the duration of the movie. An Alien Council confer a Human Being with the power to do absolutely anything, as an experiment. That is the storyline here. It’s simple but is quite funny in places.
Simon Pegg plays Neil who is a school teacher and lives on his own in the same block as neighbour and love interest Catherine played by Kate Beckinsale. Neil’s friend and school colleague Ray is portrayed by Sanjeev Bhaskar and with a supporting cast of Rob Riggle (Grant), Eddie Izzard (School Headmaster) and Marianne Oldham (Rosie) this movie’s cast is solid and appear to have enjoyed making the film.
“Absolutely Anything” reminded me a little of “Bruce Almighty (2003)” in giving one man the powers to do anything he feels is an interesting concept on how he copes with this responsibility and one of the things I found amusing was how literal and precise Neil had to be in his commands as his first few attempts backfire drastically and amusingly that also reminded me of The X-Files episode “Je Souhaite” (episode 21 of Season 7) in which Fox Mulder was given three wishes by a genie.
Pegg and Beckinsale appear to be enjoying working together in this movie and share good chemistry in all their scenes. This is the first movie I have seen Beckinsale play a slight comedic character and it’s pleasing to see this side of her and equally pleasing to know her late father’s (Richard) comedy side has rubbed off on her to an extent. Bhaskar although is sparingly used is also enjoyable and amusing as Ray who is basically a loser trying to capture the attention of Rosie another teacher who sees Ray the way we do and wants nothing to do with him. That is until Neil for a laugh commands her to begin worshipping Ray. The scenario then plays as a running gag throughout the backdrop of the movie and spirals out of control by the third act.
Rob Riggle plays Grant who is infatuated by Catherine and won’t take no for an answer is the movie’s villain. Riggle is great as the resilient American playing the bad guy role in the spirit of the movie and it’s feel in the style of a Farrelly Brothers villain, silly and not all there.
The late great Robin Williams in his last credited role is the voice of Neil’s Dog “Dennis”. Williams as always whether it be live action or voice acting pours his energy into the role and the character of Dennis the Dog is the standout star of the movie. His lines are hilarious and one can only imagine Williams ad-libbed many of his lines that must have had director and Monty Python man Terry Jones in stitches.
As far as the effect on making a real dog look convincing as he speaks is a little poor in the mouth region which is surprising in the effects world of 2015 as films like Little Nicky (2000) used this technique back then to convincing results. This is nit picking of course and Williams lines are probably the best in the movie and it’s satisfying to see or in this case hear him nail it in his last role.
Although only in the movie at the beginning and then again near the end it was great to hear the Monty Python cast portray the strange and exotic creatures from the outer space Council and it was also great fun to guess who was who.
“Absolutely Anything” is a silly comedy romance with a science fiction element to it that keeps the movie interesting in the scene to see what Neil will do next. Comedy value it is more on par with Pegg’s “Paul (2011)” or “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) than “Shaun of the Dead (2004)” or “Hot Fuzz (2007)” Nevertheless it’s a decent enough average comedy and worth a watch.