Exuding Python wit and hilarity, this film will very much make you question what you would do if you were given the power to do absolutely anything.
Monty Python always seem to garner a required taste. Either you understand the humor and precede to nearly collapse laughing, or it flies straight over your head and leaves you with an unimpressed, bitter taste in your mouth. If you’re a fan of the boys in question and Terry Jones’ work, then Absolutely Anything is a must-see.
A somewhat hybrid of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Bruce Almighty, Absolutely Anything answers the age old question, “What would you do with infinite power?”. Well apparently, absolutely anything, in the case of main character Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg), an average guy, working as a comprehensive school teacher (à la Alfie Wickers from Bad Education) who is suddenly bestowed with the power to do exactly that.
This power is given to Neil by an alien council (voiced by Pythons John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Giliam and director Terry Jones) hovering around the galaxy, judging species around them to see if they are suitable enough to join their intergalactic federation. Neil is given this power at random. The aliens want to destroy Earth, but have to carry out their ‘Destruction Order’ and see if one human can prove that the entire population of Earth are worthy enough for them to leave the planet be.
As any Python related story, the film is extremely unconventional, because Neil doesn’t seem do anything substantial with his newly found power. With the flick of his wrist, he can do anything. And what does he wish for? His dog to talk, a nicer body, aliens to blow up his class of unruly pupils, his boss to actually like him… the list goes on. As unrealistic as the film is – being randomly chosen by aliens and given God-like power – Neil does exactly what anyone would do in this situation. He uses the powers to make his life better in ways he think will do it, which ultimately show the aliens that he – and subsequently the human race – are a bunch of selfish creatures.
Even when Neil tries to make the world a better place, simple things like solving world hunger or preventing war are taken too literally and ultimately make the world even worser off. Having the power to do anything in your hands isn’t as simple as it would seem.
The film does get weighed down with an unneeded romantic sub-plot, although it doesn’t seem to rely too heavily on it. Neil has a crush on Catherine (Kate Beckinsale), a woman that lives in his building, and both seem to want to be more than acquaintances but neither have the courage to do anything about it. Neither know what to do with their feelings for one another, with Neil confusing Catherines’s advances with his newfound power, thinking he’d wished this upon himself.
The part of this sub-plot that is unwarranted, however, is the breakaway scenes to Catherine’s working life as a book critic. Nothing of importance happens here apart from the introduction of her insane ex-boyfriend (Rob Riggle) who acts as a somewhat villain to Neil later on in the film. The inclusion of Catherine’s work only seems to showcase the little screen time that Joanna Lumley has as her boss.
But of course, who could forget the bittersweet sounds of Robin Williams’ voice as Neil’s dog, Dennis? It’s such a treat to be able to hear Williams, even though it’s somewhat heartbreaking. His comradery with Neil is indeed the highlight of the film, as making a dog able to voice his thoughts on biscuits and revelations on tummy tickling is a hilarious thing to witness.
Though not for everyone, Absolutely Anything exudes Python’s staple wry wit and intelligent humor through Pegg and Williams’ stellar comedic acting abilities.
Absolutely Anything (2015), directed by Terry Jones, is distributed in the UK by Lionsgate. Certficiate 12A.