Absolutely Anything (2015)

(On Cable TV, June 2017) You’d think that a comedy movie bringing together the members of Monty Python, Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale (still an assured sex symbol at a respectable age) and a high-concept comic premise would lead to a minimal amount of laughter. But if you think that, then you haven’t yet seen Absolutely Anything, which is recognizably trying to be funny without actually being funny. The big premise has aliens assigning omnipotence to a human and seeing what choices he makes with it, with the fate of the human race in the balance. As an idea, it’s limitless … which explains the disappointment. It takes a while for the film to come up with things to do within that premise, and whatever throwaway gags are put on the screen seem almost too restrained compared to the possibilities. (The film also cheats by presenting a “start over again!” mechanism and using it at least three times) Simon Pegg does what he can with a classic underachiever character, but there is a limit to what he can do given the relentless mediocrity of the script. Good performances by supporting actors can’t help, and some of the alien material featuring the voices of Monty Python members often feel like undercooked inside jokes. Absolutely Anything makes the fatal mistake of feeling dull, which is just about the one unforgivable thing that a comedy in which anything is possible can make.

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