*NEW* ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING REVIEW *NEW*

absolutely-anything

I would recommend that you see absolutely anything else.

And that’s coming from a Python fan! On paper, Pegg and the Pythons spelled perfection. Pull the other one!

A group of eccentric aliens confer a human being (Simon Pegg) with the power to do absolutely anything as an experiment.

After watching the Monty Python reunion at the O2 arena, I was a little anxious about their latest offering. The old gags felt stale and the gang just didn’t deliver for me. I understand that they couldn’t reach that level of energy and eccentricity (Come on, they’re in their seventies) BUT at least they used to be funny. Tragically that rut has continued.

The premise was pretty much a British take on Bruce Almighty. BUT even that fell short by comparison. The flat opening really didn’t get things going.

The Pythons provided their voicing gravitas to the aliens. It was silly enough but far too tame as they translated their alien names into female ones and bickered about destroying Planet Earth.

Pegg certainly carried this lead balloon as much as he could and was a likeable lead. Once he got his powers, things really got into the flow. Shame that the momentum couldn’t stick. BUT I was entertained for a good twenty minutes.

Pegg’s bathroom body enhancements had me howling. Hang on. Let me rephrase that. The fact he asks for the body of a great man and turns into Albert Einstein delivered the silly chuckle. And a gag involving the changing of one’s appendage was unexpected but dropped a cracking punch line.

All the little jokes from the dog mess cleaning itself up to Pegg’s mate getting his own cult, ticked the boxes but it just wasn’t enough. Maybe I expected too much after growing up with the Python movies and TV shows. The Holy Grail and Life of Brian were iconic comedy classics. BUT this? Dreadful. The rest of the gags and set pieces were ridiculous, corny and stupid for all the wrong reasons.

The stunning Kate Beckinsale did her best with her role but the love subplot with Pegg was too bland and nauseating to care about. Sanjeev Bhaskar didn’t do a bad job as Pegg’s best friend and tried to keep things watchable.

Joanna Lumley was terrible in her cameo. You know you’re onto a loser when Ab Fab’s Patsy can’t save the day. The idea of a book critic grilling authors for scandal and ratings over intellect and culture may have sounded good on paper (In fact it doesn’t). BUT the finished result certainly wasn’t and by the end you wondered why her character was even involved.

There was a saving grace with the late but always great Robin Williams as Dennis the dog. He was hilarious. Meshing all sorts of crazy voices including a spot of the old Doubtfire. The canine’s obsession with biscuits and running commentary on any passing thought that popped in his head delivered the much needed laughs.

Eddie Izzard wasn’t in this enough as the Headmaster. He delivered with the tiny tidbits he was given. While Rob Riggle, on the other hand, was in it far too much. Normally you could bank on the chap to deliver the goods after his appearances in Step Brothers and Let’s Be Cops. But this time around, he was irritating and highly unfunny.

It didn’t help that the divide between the Pythons and Eric Idle was so obvious. Even as an alien, Idle was separate from the team. Whether it was meant to be a joke in itself baffled me. He even had his own skit as a racist skeleton. You read that right. I don’t know if I made that sound better or worse.

The tone was all over the place. It was macabre in one sequence. A joke about Pegg’s classroom blowing up certainly delivered the shock factor with a surprise asteroid attack. BUT in the next frame, we had people running around London with webbed feet and big fluffy ears. It felt like the gang suddenly realised that the film was supposed to be a 12A and watered it down. Killing off the last 30 minutes. The last 30 minutes of an 86 minute film.

I knew it was always going to fall short of the iconic Life of Brian and Holy Grail BUT I expected so much more. For good portions of the film, I was bored or cringing at how dire the gags really were.

Disappointed would be an overstatement. Pegg and the cast do their best and there were some laughs to be had BUT it was all for nothing. One star for the cast and one for the jokes that did tickle me.

2/5

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*NEW* BILL REVIEW *NEW*

First_promotional_photo_for_''Bill''_(2015_film_release)

The Horrible Histories team hit the big screen at last! Shame, it didn’t live up to the hype.

What really happened during Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Years’? Hopeless lute player Bill Shakespeare (Matthew Baynton) leaves his home to follow his dream.

“A time of war and plague. BUT mainly war”. From the opening credits, I knew what I was in for. A silly adventure. Not a bad thing by any means. BUT it was always going to suffer tough comparisons to the award winning BBC TV show Horrible Histories. Which tragically it falls short of.

“People will remember the name Shakespeare . . . Twenty years from now”.

Matthew Baynton was great as Shakespeare. Bumbling and baffling away as he desperately tries to hone in his craft. Well, whatever craft he decides to be interested in at the time to avoid getting a job. Martha Howe-Douglas played the part of Shakespeare’s long suffering wife well as she endures another crazy whim as Bill seeks London for fame and fortune.

I couldn’t believe that Damian Lewis had a cameo as Sir Richard Hawkins. Professional thief and “royal pain in the bum hole”. The only problem was that his character didn’t really do anything and spent the rest of the movie in a cell. Shame. Helen McCrory may have looked the part as Queen Elizabeth I. Hideously caked in make up BUT she wasn’t really that memorable or funny for that matter.

The real stars was the Histories team yet again. Simon Farnaby used to annoy me in the series BUT I have to say he was fantastic as the neglected Earl of Crawley (Croydon!). Jim Howick was superb as Christopher Marlowe. His inability to deliver a “Your mum” joke was hilarious. Uttering a gag at all the wrong times and in the completely wrong context.

Ben Willbond was brilliant as King Phillip II of Spain. He camped it up a treat. He stole the scene every time. In one moment, the mad monarch was slaying oranges with his sword. A lady in waiting asks him the score. And with a bemused grin, he looks to the camera and simply says, “Juice”.

It was easygoing fun watching Bill get thrown out of his lute band Mortal Coil. His extreme lute solo was hilarious. His introduction to London was very Pythonesque. It was gritty and filthy with people being mugged, stabbed or gobbing on the streets. Delightful. The “Bring Out Your Dead” joke in full flair. The collector even tries to take one of Bill’s mates in an “emotional farewell” after being stabbed.

The bum jokes and endless slapstick gags delivered the odd chuckle BUT it soon got repetitive. Once you seen one peasant hit on the head with a stick, you seen it all. However, the pace did drop in places. For every good gag, there were several duds.

I loved the kid friendly Python vibe from the Earl of Croydon using his own servant as a human shield to evade mugging to King Phillip’s check-in at customs on the beaches of Dover. Cracking stuff.

The closing moments were very hit and miss. The series of unfortunate misunderstandings musical number was a bit of a dud. While the little Shakespeare references were spot on. “Tis the play that’s the thing. You know. Bling and ting”.

I can’t believe I’m saying this BUT it all got a little too silly for my liking. I know that this was a kids film BUT what I liked about Horrible Histories was the fact that it could amuse anyone. The gags, especially in the finale, were definitely aimed more at the little ‘uns.

Once Prince Philip had revealed himself with his fake mustache over his real tash for the umpteenth time, I could feel my eyes wondering to the little hands on the clock. Too patchy. Very much like their Sky puppet show Ponderland.

It was just a shame that the transition from 30 minute TV specials to 90 minute features may have been a bridge too far. BUT fans of the HH franchise and newbies will still enjoy this mad little movie. Maybe it was a case of too high an expectation for me.

3/5