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.