Absolutely Anything is absolutely fine – but nothing more. Pegg plays eager-to-please teacher Neil Clarke who, entirely randomly, is gifted the power to do... well, absolutely anything by aliens keen to see if humanity deserves continued existence or utter annihilation. Will Neil choose to end world hunger, homelessness and war (points the film does address, recognising that ending world ills just creates worse problems – mass obesity, overcrowding and wars starting for no reason at all) or just make his dog talk and his sexy neighbour Catherine (Beckinsale) fall in love with him? Well, what do you think?
This is entirely disposable and yet completely inoffensive slapstick fun and many critics have pilloried it for not adequately addressing the potential of one person possessing unlimited power, missing the point that Neil is completely the wrong person to be given such an enormous responsibility (and, indeed, that giving any one person such power might not be a great idea), which doesn’t necessarily mean that humanity is hopelessly beyond redemption. Neil throws his abilities around with reckless abandon and with consequences which might not exactly be hilarious but are certainly worth a wry chuckle or two. Pegg is on surer ground here than he has been in some of his shakier standalone efforts in the last few years, Beckinsale displays a comic timing we might not have suspected from her turns as the leather-clad Seline in the dreary Underworld franchise and it’s genuinely heart-warming to hear the remaining Pythons voicing the rather rubbish aliens as they ponder the worth of the human race from their upended conical spaceship.
Absolutely Anything is big broad British farce and nothing more or less. It’s cheeky rather than vulgar and it displays the odd flash of inventive wit which could only really come from the once razor-sharp mind of one of the Monty Python team. Throwaway fun – absolutely inessential but absolutely harmless.
ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR: TERRY JONES / SCREENPLAY: GAVIN SCOTT / STARRING: SIMON PEGG, KATE BECKINSALE, SANJEEV BHASKAR, ROBIN WILLIAMS, ROB RIGGLE, EDDIE IZZARD, MEERA SYAL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10