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Film / Absolutely Anything

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So if you could do anything at all, what would you do?

Absolutely Anything is an 2015 British comedy film directed by Terry Jones and starring Simon Pegg, with the voices of Jones, all four of his fellow surviving members of Monty Python, and the late 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 neighbor Catherine (Kate Beckinsale) and giving his dog Dennis (Williams) the ability to talk and advise him.


This film contains examples of:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Baleful Polymorph: 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.
  • 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.)
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Neil tries it when the power grows to be too much, but fails fairly miserably.
  • Eagleland: 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.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Council's ship uses them, first to power Neil up and then to destroy the Earth when humanity fails their test.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Turns out John Cleese's alien is known as the Death-Dealer.
  • 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 Katherine enter his apartment whilst making out.
  • 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 these.
  • Translation Convention: The aliens speak the dominant language of the planet on trial throughout its trial - in our case, that's English. 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.


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