Just more than slightly silly, this movie by one fourth of brilliant British comedy giants, The Monty Python crew is predictable, mostly unfunny and something I actually wouldn’t recommend. It’s up there in intergalactic space ready to be demolished by aliens for being so bad.
Down in the dumps and poxy teacher Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg) happens to one day receive powers that lets him do absolutely anything. This is down to a group of aliens who challenge Earth’s survival to the good or evil actions taken by one human with the gift. Neil becomes power happy and tries using it to win the attentions of neighbour Catherine (Kate Beckinsale).
The film, from the trailer at least, seemed like something to me that I’d enjoy. However banal and overdone a concept it is, I was intrigued by the tomfoolery of it all and the special voice casting. Sadly this is overshadowed by a flat script and general weariness throughout. It’s got no style and feels like a Nickelodeon show at times, in terms of how it looks. Even with a comedic director at the helm it suffers, as if Terry Jones is working from the frazzled dumb part of his brain. It could have had heart and easily could have been both dumb and clever humour, but it most assuredly is not.
Terry Jones and Gavin Scott join heads as writers, though apart from maybe a couple of smirk inducing qualities, it never feels as if a script has been put together. The entire movie comes across sadly pathetic. It sparks me off thinking that a child would come up with this idea and run with it, loving its mad course of action. Jones, I feel, even with the stupid side of Python comedy, should know better. It’s truly a stinker and though it runs at less than 90 minutes and I saw it for free at the cinema, I would have rather been absolutely anywhere else.
Sci-fi angles, British school set ups and romantic threads come together and fray before they even manifest as healthy plot lines. The characters are one dimensional and the graphics overload of the surreal alien race are where most of the time and budget clearly went to. I admit a couple of moments regarding the things Neil does with the power are quite alright but that doesn’t suffice for the rest of the drivel either side.
Simon Pegg stars, proving he’s happy to go in most films and that’s why he’s nearly everywhere these days on the silver screen. He’s giving Benedict Cumberbatch a run for his overflowing money. Pegg plays Pegg and does nothing different in a role so dull and tame that I don’t see how you really find him likable as Catherine states. Kate Beckinsale as aforementioned Catherine is okay, but has nothing outstanding to do or nothing funny to demonstrate potential comedy chops she may have. The excitement I had for the Python reunion (kind of) is short lived as their parts are reduced to daft squabbles and naff numerical jokes. Robin Williams can’t even grace the film with his talent, though his doggy voiced scenes are good, they pale to the canine in ‘The Voices’. It’s only a sliver of the improv genius Williams clearly had.
Showing like a dead eyed ‘Bruce Almighty’, this film begs you to wonder why. Just why, seriously, even expecting a daft movie won’t prepare you for the disengaging, unfunny terror that is involved.