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Big Nothing
UKScreen Rating:

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Charlie (Schwimmer) is out of work but doesn’t want to let his policewoman wife (McElhone) support him, so he takes a job in a call-centre.
It’s not long before his cheeky-chappy colleague and new best friend Gus (Pegg) gets sacked. Gus isn’t bothered though – this just gives him an excuse to put a sneaky money-making scheme into action. But he can’t do it alone.
He’s not entirely sure he can do it just with Charlie either, though, so he ropes in his ex girlfriend Josie (Eve) too.
During his time at the call-centre, Gus has come across a list of people who’ve accessed pornography on the internet and there are people on that list who might not want that information made public.
The plan is to blackmail a priest, but in the time-honoured tradition of such films, things don’t go to plan, so before long, we have dead priests, women with axes in their heads and bickering bad guys.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

This is a below average example of the ubiquitous “what could possibly go wrong next?” caper movie genre.
It draws on so many movies – the very first scene is stolen from Goodfellas – not just the scene itself, but also the fact that it flashes forward to a moment halfway through the film.
But while some films have the good grace to acknowledge their borrowings with nudges and winks, this film seemed to take itself too seriously.
There was no real chemistry between Schwimmer’s straight guy and Pegg’s funny guy – they’re certainly no Ross and Chandler – and that’s not a slight on Pegg, but a sign that the script just isn’t up to much.
It was, however, disappointing to hear Pegg playing American – take away his cheeky chappy accent and his own scripts (Spaced and Shaun of the Dead were his own work) and he’s a shade of his normal self.
It’s not a terrible film – there are some amusing, if predictable moments. But with talent drawn from Friends and Spaced – two of the sharpest comedies of the past decade – Big Nothing is a big disappointment. That said, David Schwimmer is yet to find anything post-Friends that works for him, while this is Simon Pegg’s first dud.
(Roll on his next self-penned feature, Hot Fuzz, his upcoming collaboration with Spaced and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright.)
It’s a particular disappointment that this was made with British money, on locations in Britain and the Isle of Man. If there are people in Britain with money to spend on movies, why are they giving it to a French director to make a film that’s pretending to be American – two of the main actors (Pegg and Eve) themselves are pretending to be American? And why are they using it to shoot a tired, derivative and formulaic, yet completely unbelievable script?

opens nationwide 1st December 2006

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