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DVD Review

DVD cover

Absolutely Anything


Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Rob Riggle, Eddie Izzard Joanna Lumley, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Robin Williams
Distributor: Lionsgate UK
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 07 December 2015

Neil Clarke is a disillusioned school teacher, who suddenly finds he has the ability to do anything he wishes, a challenge bestowed upon him by a group of power-crazed aliens, watching him from space. As he struggles to deal with these newfound powers and the events that subsequently arise, he calls upon his loyal canine companion Dennis to help him along the way. Mishap after mishap finally leads him to the ultimate conundrum that all men dread and at which many have failed... should he choose the girl... or the dog...?

Absolutely Anything is a sci-fi comedy directed by Monty Python's Terry Jones. The film starts opens with a society of alien races (voiced by the Monty Python team) find one of the Voyager probes launched into outer space by mankind in 1972. More importantly they discover the Pioneer plaque that signals to them that Earthlings have gained the ability to reach into space. As is the case with all sentient life that manages to embark on a space program, the aliens need to find out if they are good or evil. If they are good... then they are invited to join the intergalactic network of alien species. If they are bad... then their entire planet will be destroyed. How do the aliens decide if a species is good or bad? By picking one of its members randomly, give them the power to do absolutely anything (which is a power all the aliens possess) and then after a few days conclude whether this individual used their powers for good or evil.

In the case of Earth, our chosen champion is Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg), a school English teacher and failed writer, who in his '40s still hasn't managed to settle down with the woman of his dreams. However, he is obsessed with his neighbour, Catherine (Kate Beckinsale).

When Neil gains the ability to do absolutely anything, it takes him a while to realise what is going on, but before he knows it, he has had his students blown up by a passing alien spaceship; given his pet dog Dennis (voiced by Robin Williams) the ability to think rationally, as well as talk; made his bully headmaster (played by Eddie Izzard) think that Neil can do no wrong; and forced a female member of staff to become obsessed with his friend and colleague Ray (played by Sanjeev Bhaskar) who has worshipped her from afar.

But, while Neil thinks he's made Catherine fall in love with him... he hasn't... she already had and it had nothing to do with his powers. But there's a problem, Catherine's ex-lover, Grant (played by Rob Riggle) is on the scene and is determined to win Catherine back.

The movie is a bit of fluffy nonsense, that does nothing more than entertain. But it's funny, well acted and there's not a second of boring padded material.

Extras include: If You Could Do Absolutely Anything, What Would it Be? (2 min, 49 sec featurette that asks various members of the cast and crew that question. It ends with Terry Jones, who has easily the best answer); Creating the Aliens (6 min interview with James Acheson the production designer and other members of the cast on how the alien designs game about); Find Out Everything About Absolutely Anything (10 min, 25 sec making of featurette); Mojo interviews the Cast (5 min, 29 sec featurette that sees Dennis the dog interviewing the cast); Mojo the Dog (4 min, 47 sec featurette on the dog that played Dennis); and finally a number of Cast and Crew Interviews: Terry jones (6 min, 10 sec); Simon Pegg (10 min, 55 sec); Kate Beckinsale (5 min, 42 sec); Joanna Lumley (2 min, 09 sec); Eddie Izzard (4 min); and The Producers Bill Jones and Ben Timlett (4 min, 48 sec).

The extras tend to repeat a lot of the same material (sometimes three or four times). But I loved Bill Jones's answer to what he would do if he could do absolutely anything. In addition, when you hear the full interview question, Joanna Lumley's answer doesn't seem so odd. She was asked "If you could do anything for a day, what would you do?" The interviewer should have asked her the same question, but point out they meant if she had special powers and could do ANYTHING.

It's a fun, throwaway movie that will entertain you for its running time. Just don't expect to find anything deep laying underneath the surface.


Darren Rea

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