Follow TV Tropes


Film / Absolutely Anything

Go To

Absolutely Anything is a 2015 British Science Fiction Fantasy Comedy film directed by Terry Jones and starring Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale, with the voices of Jones, all four of his fellow surviving members of Monty Python, and Robin Williams in his final film role.

The Pythons play a group of aliens on the Intergalactic Council of Superior Beings. In order to judge humanity's worth, they give a random human omnipotent powers to see if he uses them for good or for evil - if it's good, they get to join the Council, while if it's evil, they destroy the planet. The powers go to down-on-his-luck schoolteacher Neil Clarke (Pegg), who begins to experiment with what he can do, including trying to win over his attractive neighbour Catherine (Beckinsale) and giving his dog Dennis (Williams) the ability to talk and advise him.

This film contains examples of:

  • Aliens Are Bastards: Of the hundreds of species the Council has put through this test, none have passed, and it looks like humanity's following suit. But as it turns out, the Council's ethical system values death and destruction over peace and kindness.
  • Alliterative Title
  • All the Good Men Are Gay: Catherine's friend concludes Neil has to be gay, as he's such a good guy, so Catherine decides to proposition him for sex as a test (and he accepts, proving this wrong).
  • Animate Dead: Neil can do this - in fact, he raises up everyone who ever died for about two minutes, due to an ill-worded command.
  • As You Know: One member of the council explains the trial to the other members, something they should all know given how much they've already held it.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: There's a lot of this. Notably, Neil's commands to reverse global warming, remove any reason for wars to be fought, give everyone their dream house and give everyone unlimited food nearly dooms the Earth (an Ice Age kicks in, wars are now fought everywhere for no reason at all, all space on Earth becomes housing and morbid obesity sets in across the world.)
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed: When Neil wishes for "a penis that women find exciting" in attempt for a larger penis, he has to specify after it's granted that it should be white.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: To the Council, good is destruction and evil is weakness.
  • Brainwashed: Neil's wishes affect people's minds in some cases, for instance causing Ray's crush to worship him, making Catherine love Grant and everyone make war for no reason.
  • Broken Aesop: Although the moral of the film might at first seem to be that absolute power will never bring you happiness. What the film actually shows is that if you have absolute power, making wishes without thinking them through carefully and poor phrasing will cause serious problems.
  • Bungled Suicide: Neil tries drowning himself when the power grows to be too much, but fails fairly miserably.
  • Caustic Critic: The presenter of the show Catherine works on prides herself in tearing down authors, whether her criticism's relevant or not.
  • The Cameo: Professor Brian Cox shows up on the TV at one point.
  • Delinquents: 10C is an entire class of this.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Catherine matter of factly asks if Neil wants to have sex as a test of whether he's gay, and he eagerly says yes, thinking it's the result of his wish.
  • Energy Weapon: The Council's ship uses them, first to power Neil up and then to destroy the Earth when humanity fails their test.
  • Eagleland: Dennis (if his accent was an indication of his birthplace rather than an arbitrary accent when Neil gave him the ability to speak) is a Type I, Grant is a Type II.
  • Evil is Petty: Grant's commands include turning the outfits of the British police pink, making all traffic signals green all the time, and giving all "pasty white Englishmen" big ears and webbed feet.
  • Exact Words: The reason that many of Neil's commands fail to work out in the way he intended.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: The council; one asks why all the species that attempt interstellar contact always depict themselves as naked.
  • Fan Disservice: The scene where Neil uses his power to have a "Great body" and ends up with a nude woman's body, with Simon Pegg's head on top of it.
  • Fantastic Aesop: Neil concludes that his powers cause more harm than good after trying to solve world problems and only making things worse.
  • Forced Transformation: Neil turns his friend Ray into a sausage and a duck at one point, and Grant gets turned into a corgi, even after the Reset Button.
  • Gag Penis: The first time Neil wishes for a big penis it pulls him down to the floor, its size making him incapable of standing.
  • God for a Day: The plot of the movie: a harried schoolteacher gets omnipotence.
  • Good Is Bad And Bad Is Good: The Council it turns out define "good" as dealing death and destruction, so they judge Neil guilty as he doesn't use his powers for that (i.e. he's "evil").
  • Hypocrite: For all that the aliens preach about how destruction is "good" and mercy is "evil" after The Reveal, once Dennis uses his new wish-granting powers to destroy them, the last words one of the aliens utters are "The dog is evil."
  • Intellectual Animal: Neil wishes for Dennis his dog to be able speak and become a rational thinking creature, after which he gains human-level intelligence and the ability to speak English.
  • Karma Houdini: Catherine's rude, exploitative, anti-intellectual bosses never get any comeuppance for their nastiness.
  • Kick the Dog: If it was questionable before, Grant crosses the line into villainy by threatening to shoot Dennis if Neil doesn't start granting wishes for him.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Neil wipes people's memories several times of the inexplicable things he does with his powers.
  • Literal Genie: With just a hint of Jackass Genie - Neil's commands are seldom interpreted the way he intended them.
  • Logical Weakness: Neil has to say what he wants and wave his hand, then it will happen. Grant knocks him out, then ties Neil down, keeps him gagged and restrains his right hand with orders to make certain wishes. He holds Neil's dog hostage and threatens to shoot him if Neil says anything except what he's written down for him. Only then will he unbind his hand and ungag Neil.
  • Lonely at the Top: Ultimately, Neil, after his powers drive away both Ray and Catherine.
  • Magical Gesture: Neil's powers will only work if he waves his right hand after stating what he wants to happen.
  • Mind Rape: Turns out that unlike a genie, Neil does gain the power to make women instantly fall in love with him (or anyone else). When the plot forces him to use it on Catherine to make her fall in love with Grant, she accepts he had to do it, but is shaken by the experience of losing her free will to the point that she cuts off contact with him.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Catherine thinks Neil is gay after he has what seems to be a man whom he's hiding in his flat who talks like his lover (actually his talking dog). However, it's oddly enough the day after the two had sex, which you'd think would have told her otherwise.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Turns out John Cleese's alien is known as the Death-Dealer.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Due to a poorly-worded wish, Neil briefly resurrects everybody who ever died, and they return as shambling corpses.
  • No Bisexuals: Catherine believes Neil's gay even after they had sex (he eagerly accepted her proposition). At best you would think he's bisexual given this (though he isn't that either-it was all just a misunderstanding).
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Dennis the Dog is voiced by Robin Williams, and thus has an American accent, despite having a British owner and living in the UK. Whether Neil’s wish just randomly gave Dennis an American accent or Dennis was adopted from the United States is never brought up.
  • The Omnipotent: Whoever gets the power, so first Neil, then Dennis.
  • Power Incontinence: Neil's power cuts out partway through the movie when the alien machinery glitches, meaning Catherine slept with him of her own free will (if drunk).
  • Power Perversion Potential:
    • Neil giving himself a giant penis.
    • Neil spying on Catherine.
    • Neil trying to get Catherine to sleep with him.
    • Neil making Ray's crush "worship" him.
    • Grant using Neil's powers to make Catherine want to have sex with him.
  • Reality Warper: Neil can make anything happen by waving his hand and saying what he wants to happen.
  • Reset Button: If all else fails, Neil can always undo a command. Dennis does end up doing this.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: Neil accidentally uses his powers several times before he realizes he has them:
    • "Screw you!" Cue the guy in question feeling himself having sex with an invisible person.
    • "Oh that's easy, I'd have aliens wipe out class 10C." Cue the sound of an explosion.
  • Secret Test of Character: The reason why Neil has been given powers - with an added dosage of Humanity on Trial.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The door shuts as Neil and Catherine enter his apartment whilst making out.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Council members believe in crushing weaker lifeforms, and thus condemn Neil since he doesn't use his powers for this.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Neil makes Ray's crush "worship" him. She and some students start a religion about him, including trying to kill him to let him show off his ability to come back from the dead.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Advanced enough to be able to make regular people omnipotent Gods on a whim.
  • Talking Animal: Dennis, Neil's dog. Neil first asks that Dennis gain the ability to talk, but that command fails to make him any smarter. Neil clarifies that he wants Dennis to become a rational thinking being, which works, though Dennis still has difficulty focusing.
  • Teacher's Pet: Neil turns the whole of class 10C into studious, earnest kids.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The Intergalactic Council of Superior Beings travels the universe, destroying any species that fails to pass their convoluted and morally ambiguous Secret Test of Character. The four aliens sitting on the council are named Kylie, Sharon, Maureen, and Janet. This is subverted later in the movie, though, when it turns out that a mischievous underling tampered with their translation device, and the leader of the council says that his actual title is the Death-Dealing Darkness-Bringer.
  • Translation Convention: The aliens speak the dominant language of the planet on trial throughout its trial — in our case, that's English (althoguh some of them briefly try speaking in French). An error in the translator also gives them all human female names, like Carol and Sharon.
  • Unrated Edition: The cinema release of the film is rated 12A, and DVD version rated 12 (likely because of one of the bonus features). The Blu-Ray edition however is rated 15, and according to the box it "contains added filth". But actually all that changed was a dozen or so instances of "feck" being changed to "fuck", and a few lines being added to one scene which contain some more swearing. The difference in runtime between the DVD and Blu-Ray is a mere 19.3 seconds.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Although the police are laughed at for suddenly getting pink uniforms, nobody comments on all the "pasty white Englishmen" who suddenly have big ears and duck feet, nor the other unexplainable changes which Neil doesn't wipe memories of with his power.