Alex Reviews Absolutely Anything - The Absolute Worst Thing Monty Python Has Ever Done

And another bad movie for Simon Pegg.

Rating: ˜…˜… Everyone has something they regret. Bill Murray has Garfield. Josh Trank has saying yes to directing a superhero blockbuster. I have that article where I said Mad Max: Fury Road wouldn't be that good. And now Monty Python has Absolutely Anything. Oh, individually, Messrs Cleese, Palin, Jones and Idle have done worse things, but together - through their smartly silly sketch show and even more accomplished movies - they've never produced anything that comes close to this. The Monty Python„ branding may be lacking from the film, with them only getting a passing mention in the marketing, but all the hallmarks are there. We open with an Idle-esque musical number, the director is Terry Jones and the surviving Pythons reunite to provide the voices of supreme beings who gift Simon Pegg with the power to do absolutely anything with just the flick of his wrist. At this point, it's the closest we're going to get to a follow-up to The Meaning Of Life.
What's so disappointing about Absolutely Anything is that it does absolutely nothing with its great premise. The film can literally do whatever it wants, yet chooses to go with a very basic, undernourished rom-com story. All that Treehouse Of Horror stuff about the perils of world peace any normal person would plump for straight away when given ultimate power (which would, in a better film, be the jumping off point to a bigger story) is rushed over in five minutes near the end with less insight than The Simpsons' monkey paw. The cheap CGI that runs through the film suggests the budget was simply too low for anything more ambitious, but since when did that stop the Pythons? Fair enough they didn't want to use the same stylised cartoons that defined their show (aside from the very obvious Easter eggs, this is seems to want to be its own thing), yet such passive realism feels half-hearted from Jones, who we know from his direction of the group's previous big screen movies is capable of more flair. In terms of straight performances, the Pythons are bland, having fun delivering their lines but never investing in them. Although I can kinda see why - a big chunk of their screentime is spent on a joke that the male aliens are calling themselves female names (the Koala-esque one is named Shelia), which doesn't quite fit for a group of actors who made a name of themselves for perpetually dressing up as women.
They fare better than everyone else, although you can at least take consolation in that Pegg has done worse, Kate Beckinsale has done much worse and Robin Williams, in what his final ever role, has done much, much worse. The script their working with is full of obvious jokes that don't land and Pegg and Beckinsale's romance, despite being the crux of the narrative, is contrived and unengaging, happening only because they kinda live near each other. In fact, nothing about the plot of either strand makes sense; in the sci-fi land the supreme beings give a human higher powers to test if he has higher powers, while down on Earth Beckinsale laments how nobody takes her job as a producer of an ethic-less book programme, then mocks a colleague who works on a similar show about Egyptian history. It€™s a mess, with too many narratives that only vaguely tie themselves up at the end with scant justification. Depressingly, there is still a glimmer of reaching for something more. In its middle act, the film tries to deal with the complex notion of being able to control other people, having Pegg question how he's destroying free will. However, through a culpa ex machina (fault in the machine, a new term I've just coined which is basically an even more coincidental version of fan-favourite deux) Jones side-steps applying it to the relationship with Beckinsale, which is a good job from a moral standpoint, but makes presenting such tricky questions worthless.
The pithy criticisms of the film write themselves - Absolutely Awful; watch Absolutely Anything else; the "does absolutely nothing" joke I made a few paragraphs up - and such obvious statements are really all something this lazy deserves. But from the minds who brought us Life Of Brian, one of my all-time favourite comedies, that's letting them off too easy. As Dennis the Dog says at the end says, "Nobody's perfect," but does that mean comedy greats can produce a film that's got all the subtlety (and questionable homophobic and racist humour) of the sitcoms they were revolutionising with the original Flying Circus? Absolutely not. Did you see Absolutely Anything? Do you agree with this review? Or did you find it really funny? Let us know down in the comments.
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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.