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Absolutely Anything


Stars: Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Rob Riggle, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley, Meera Syal Voices: Robin Williams, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

Director: Terry Jones

Monty Python’s Flying Circus crashes to the ground hard without ever managing to take off with this dreadful confection of science fiction, alleged comedy and embarrassingly bad acting, scripted by director Terry Jones and Gavin Scott. Jones also joins John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam in voicing the addled animated aliens who drive the driveling narrative. And, for added awfulness, the late Robin Williams speaks for a talking dog.

When a bunch of grotesque extraterrestrials way out in space get hold of an Earth probe they choose teacher Simon Pegg to be the decider as to whether Earth in invited to join an intergalactic federation or be destroyed. And, to aid him in his task (about which he knows nothing), they endow him with the powers to do anything he wants…

Hence the talking dog. And a collection of alleged jokes so lame they make Long John Silver resemble an Astaire-level tap dancer. At school, Pegg’s wishes blow up a classroom filled with students, cause his colleague Sanjeev Baskar to be worshipped as a god by Meera Syal and her followers, bring the dead back to life (although he fails to do the same thing for the film), get to make love to Kate Beckinsale (who must have wished she was back with far more entertaining werewolves) and create far too many other face-freezingly unfunny mishaps…

What‘s on offer is a fatuous far-below-pantomime mishmash of wish-fulfilment with a lot less to to laugh at than a botched post-mortem. Sadly Pegg never makes the obvious wish – to be able to give a good performance, while comedian Eddie Izzard (obviously realizing that acting is not his forte) doesn’t bother to try to act, Asian actors Baskar and Syal are distastefully patronized and Joanna Lumley turns up pointlessly, minus any supporting Gurkhas, in an orange wig which, I imagine, she hope would make her unrecognizable. Sadly it didn’t.

There was one mildly amusing gag – Pegg wants to be able to speak properly (don’t worry about the reason, it wasn’t particularly germane or funny) and mumbles “Take the gag out”. Unfortunately, as far as I could tell, the film didn’t contain a single gag as I understand the word.

At one stage Pegg shouts, “Sh*t! Sh*t! Sh*t! Sh*t!” I can’t think of a better review.

Alan Frank

UK/USA 2015. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour.
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 15 Aug 2015