Great Power, Total Irresponsibility
Directed by Terry Jones, the usual man behind the lens of the Monty Python films brings us his first feature film since The Wind in the Willows in 1996. The films stars Simon Pegg as Neil Clarke, a secondary school teacher who inherits the ability to do absolutely anything he wants, all he has to do is say it and wave his hand. Unbeknownst to Neil, the power comes from an intergalactic alien council who are judging earth by Neil’s actions, and will ultimately destroy it should he fail.
The first film since 1983’s The Meaning of Life to utilise the talents of all the remaining members of the Monty Python troupe is unfortunately the weakest one. However as they primarily only provide voices the disappointing outcome of this film can’t be squared on their shoulders, the structure of the film and ho hum comedy can be blamed for that.
One of the biggest issues that gets in the way of Absolutely Anything is that Bruce Almighty sort of got there first, by about 12 years (It’s a shame that this script has apparently been floating around for 20 years). I’m sure there are plenty of ideas to use for a film where a man can do whatever he wants but unfortunately this film simply retreads similar steps, and as a result becomes a touch predictable in it’s story and it’s comedy. Personally it would be interesting to see the same thing happen to a woman, plenty of different angles to use within the same subject.
For an 86 minute film it also takes far too long to really get going. Neil gets the powers very much at the start but doesn’t really do anything overly funny or exciting with them until towards the end. This may well be an intentional dig at the frivolity humans would actually have over harnessing such abilities but it doesn’t make the film funny.
The only saving grace of the proceedings and comedy is when Neil gives his dog Dennis the ability to speak and the amazing voice work of Robin Williams comes into play. Dennis and Robin Williams essentially steal the show with the best comedy of the film, but it doesn’t save the rest from being absolutely average (See what I did there?…yeah it felt dirty typing it.