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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Absolutely Anything movie review: absolutely appalling

Absolutely Anything red light

Subjuvenile and offensive, sentimental and ridiculous. Every attempt at a joke falls flat. Every talent here is wasted. Save yourself.
I’m “biast” (pro): love Simon Pegg…

I’m “biast” (con): …but he’s been trying my fangirlism for a while now

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

The curse of Simon Pegg — that one that means that each movie he makes without the touch of J.J. Abrams or Edgar Wright is worse than the one before it — has not been broken. Though this is surprising: Monty Python’s Terry Jones (Boom Bust Boom) directed Absolutely Anything. Jones wrote the script, too (with Gavin Scott: Small Soldiers)… though it’s been gathering dust for 20 years, and feels like it. Pegg (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) is London schoolteacher Neil Clarke, who is given, without warning or explanation, godlike powers by passing aliens who will decide whether or not to destroy Earth by observing what he does with this sudden capability. If you haven’t had enough recently of a man who is “irresponsible, idle, and feckless,” as Neil’s boss despairs, cast into the role of savior (or not) of all of humanity — *cough* Pixels *cough* — this is yet another chance to indulge. Will Neil use his powers to make his pretty neighbor (Kate Beckinsale: The Face of an Angel) fall in love with him? Will he use his powers to help a coworker make the woman he wants fall in love with him? Will he make his dog talk? Will he make dog poop walk? You already know the answers to these questions. This is a movie that is subjuvenile and offensive, then sentimental and ridiculous, and then it totally falls apart at the end in a way that negates everything we’ve just endured. Every attempt at a joke falls flat. Every talent here is wasted… and that’s a considerable amount of talent, among them the voices of Pythons Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and Jones himself as the aliens; Robin Williams (in what surely must be the very last performance of his we’ll see) as the voice of the talking dog; Eddie Izzard; Joanna Lumley; and Brian Cox. This is a huge embarrassment for everyone on the screen and a trial for those of us watching. Save yourself.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Absolutely Anything for its representation of girls and women.

red light half a star

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Absolutely Anything (2015)
UK/Ire release: Aug 14 2015

BBFC: rated 12A (infrequent strong language, moderate sex references)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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  • bronxbee

    i just heard an interview with Simon Pegg on NPR, in which this movie is not mentioned at all, and it reminded me of why i find him so charming and appealing in a movie that uses his talents properly. obviously, one of his talents is not in picking scripts between the big Star Trek, MI and working with Edgar Wright. even some of the better mediocre movies Pegg’s been in (Paul) could have used a bit of tightening, better humor and more charm.

  • RogerBW

    If I am charitable, I suppose the concept might have seemed good: ordinary person gets handed absolute power, learns an Important Lesson… OK, I’m not even selling myself on this. “Terry Jones script” – no, “Terry Jones and some other guy” script.

    Having just reread your review of Small Soldiers, and what that did with its impressive cast, I think I see the common factor…

  • Wayne McDermott

    It wasn’t that bad! I enjoyed being able to switch the brain off for an hour and a half or so. I find that if you ignore the ridiculous plot holes they will ignore you right back.

  • Danielm80

    There’s the pull quote for the ads: “It wasn’t that bad!”

  • Wayne McDermott

    Glad I could help. :)

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