Absolutely Anything

| July 7, 2017

When a powerful alien race decides to test the human race by giving one man (Simon Pegg; Hot Fuzz) omnipotence, he understandably lets it go to his head, shaping the world to his will while trying to navigate a relationship with his downstairs neighbor (Kate Beckinsale; Underworld).  Along the way he makes makes his dog sentient (Robin Williams; Good Will Hunting), he makes his boss (Eddie Izzard; Ocean’s Thirteen) be nice to him, and he gives himself a penis so large he can’t stand up.

The film is absurd but a lot of fun, and an interesting experiment in storytelling because when you have an omnipotent character, how do you create tension and conflict for him?  It reminded me of Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey, but like that film leads the hero toward an internal crisis where he has to come to terms with his own existence with or without these powers.  That film had the added bonus of giving Bruce’s abilities limits like not being able to affect a person’s free will.  Simon Pegg in this movie can literally do absolutely anything as the title suggests, much like the main character in About Time, where he can go back in time and redo anything he wants in his own life, and again that film manages to create conflict for that character despite him being so powerful.

In this film, Simon Pegg’s character isn’t overly corrupted by his power or forced to face a personal dilemma over them, but rather is more like a video game character stuck in God mode and pretty bored by being all powerful.  So, the movie then becomes about the struggle for whether or not you even want power like this, and of course about others trying to exploit this power for their own personal gain.  Pegg’s friend Ray (Sanjeev Bhaskar) for example wants them to own all the racehorses in the world and we cut to them being bored by winning every single race.  He then wants a woman he likes to worship him, causing her to create a religion centered around Ray.  The funny part about that to me is that she recruits followers who haven’t been whammied by Pegg’s power; they’re just going along with it.

Everyone seems to have a good time with the film and all of the parts are well-acted.  I wish Kate Beckinsale’s character were more consistent and given more to do; her arc by the end of the movie feels a bit easy and unearned, which is a shame, but Pegg is having  blast, the end result is very entertaining, and it’s really nice to see the cast of Monty Python reunite to play the aliens threatening to destroy the world.

Available now on DVD from 10th Century Fox

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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