on 2 May 2007
Husband-of-cop, PhD-toting, statistic-quoting Charlie (David Schwimmer) is forced into a dead-end telephone helpline job to put bread on the table for wife Penelope (Natascha McElhone) and young baby. At the call centre he meets Gus (Simon Pegg), who brings him in on his criminal plan to blackmail a local porn-loving reverend.
The ensuing crime caper is a dizzying barrage of twists-in-the-tale and wildfire plot devices. Big Nothing is a film that is a little too clever for its own good - as if the writers wanted to cram in as many switches in scenario as possible. Some are brilliantly and hilariously delivered; some are a little hard to swallow. Big Nothing will certainly keep you on your toes, so you'll need to keep your wits about you.
Simon Pegg is, as always, excellent. I'll leave it to our chums across the pond to judge whether his American accent passed muster, but I've yet to see him disappoint in any film. His unexpected pairing with David Schwimmer was inspired. However, whilst Pegg's character was a million miles from Spaced's Tim Bisley and zombie-botherer Shaun, Schwimmer struggled to break away from trademark Ross Gellerisms. Their third partner in crime is toothsome beauty Alice Eve, who turns in a spirited performance.
I'm torn between a generous four stars and a mean three. But then, compare Big Nothing to Pegg's recent triumph, Hot Fuzz, and the choice pretty much makes itself.
Big nothing tells the story of a teacher who has lost his job (Schwimmer) and needs to find another one to bring in money to support his wife and daughter. He settles for a job in a call centre for the time being. Here, he meets Gus (Pegg) and his life takes on a very strange, new direction.
There are some genuinely funny moments in this film and I am surprised it is so relatively unheard of. Maybe the distribution company just didn't get it, and therefore its marketing budget was virtually non existent.
Both the lead characters are on good form but there seems to be a lack of chemistry between the two of them. There are numerous gags along the way which are mostly amusing rather than hilarious. Most of the comedy is very dark and as the plot revolves around numerous dead people this is very fitting. There are so many twists (some painfully obvious, some less so) that any time the film appears to be running out of steam another is thrown in to keep you on your toes.
Overall the film is enjoyable enough. With a running time of only 80 minutes, it is over long before it outstays its welcome. I can't help feeling though, that with Pegg and Schwimmer on board it could have been better. With a little bit of polish I think this film could have been changed from a good film to a comedy classic.
'Big Nothing' begins when hard-up Charile (David Schwimmer) begins working at an I.T. call-centre where he meets Gus (Simon Pegg). Gus has a plan to make some quick cash by blackmailing a reverand who has been frequently visiting illegal websites. All seems easy enough until the plan goes completely wrong resulting multiple murders and no-one really appears to be who they seem. It also doesn't help that Charile's wife is the sherriff of the local police force and there is a serial killer on the loose.
With more twists than Chubby Checker in a hurricane, this black comedy is absolutely hilarious with excellent performances from both Schwimmer and Pegg. Pegg's American accent is a bit of a surprise at first but he does pull it off extremely well, as well as his nutter Gus character, which is not much like his characters in other films I've seen him in recently. It's hard not to find many similarities with Schwimmer's character to his Ross character from Friends as he has his usual nerdy statistics and facts being thrown about unnecessarily (although it does get explained) and his general geekiness throughout.
Overall this is a surprisingly good comedy/thriller that should have you both laughing and guessing all the way through. The story is very tense and filled with suspense and although this isn't perhaps as good as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, it is a brilliant comedy that is definitely worth a watch.
on 17 May 2015
A bit contrived, not bad, but not good either, actually the plot got seriously silly, and unbelievable.
And it lost its way big time. Dissapointing, just didn't work in the end. Below average, but a fair effort.
Nothing new or funny about this film, it just falls flat.
on 17 April 2007
I agree with the other reviews so far - this film disappeared from the cinemas so fast I assumed it was rubbish.
It's actually a very funny, chaotic comedy/thriller with an oddly dark tone - as likeable as the characters are, their actions are pretty questionable... It sort of reminded me of a light hearted equivalent to Way of the Gun.
Simon Pegg's American accent is dodgy at best, but he's still very entertaining - it's jarring to hear him at first, but once I got settled with the idea, he seemed a lot more like his usual self, his facial expressions especially. David Schwimmer is likeable (I hated him as Ross...) and kind of the straight man to Simon Pegg's loon. Alice Eve does a much more convincing accent, and holds her own well against two fairly big name comedy actors...
The extras on the DVD are very good - they're short, but mostly filmed on camcorders by the director and three main cast members so they seem quite personal... Pegg's contributions are the best - berating a seagull, cheating on ps2 games and calling Schwimmer "Dr. Schwimmington".
Definitely worth renting if you're not sure - I'm sure theres a lot of people who'd be put off by the dark humour, but it certainly deserves more of an audience than it apparently had at the cinema...
on 8 May 2007
A brief overview of my collection tells me that I have a mug, a t-shirt, a keyring, a mousemat, a figure, the soundtrack and, it goes without saying, the DVD. I am, of course, talking about my "Shaun of the Dead" memorobilia. To say that I am a massive fan would be, well, a, massive understatement - I have been known to hyperventilate when Simon Pegg appears on T.V! It is this worrying obsession that has already driven me to the cinema to see "Hot Fuzz" on it's opening day this year: and it is this unconditional love that made me sit through what can only be described as the rather lacklustre piece that is "Big Nothing".
I won't go into the synopsis of the film, as the handful of reviewer's who have come before me have expounded this more than admirably. I will, however, develop my opening paragraph further to make my point. Firstly, I just want to say that "Big Nothing" does have it's "plus points". The soundtrack itself, for example, is exceptionally varied, with each track fitting the scene around it - credit must therefore go to all those associated with the well-considered musical score. The film itself also offers some exceptionally neat touches - the split-screen juxtaposition between the cartoon and film versions of the story-line no doubt contribute to the underlying cult status of the film and the character placement leads to some genuine "jump-out-of-your-seat" moments (when I first saw the bit where Gus runs into Charlie at the Reverend's house, I jumped so much that the coffee (notably in my "Shaun" mug) jumped out of the cup and into my lap - thankfully it was cold!).
What lets the film down, however, it it's conciseness, it's convenience and, most importantly, it's stereotypical characterisation. At just over eighty minutes long, the film forces you onto a rollercoaster ride that may have been better constructed as a ghost train. As one reviewer has already pointed out - "it's a film that is possibly a little too clever for it's own good", and such rapidity through such a complicated story-line does nothing for the understanding of Charlie's relationship with Gus (why would he agree to get involved with such a ridiculous plan with a man who he has only known for a day?), nor Pegg's on-screen chemistry with Schwimmer. The convenient way in which the story-line develops is no doubt a product of the film's conciseness. To keep the film flowing at the adapted pace of at least one hundred miles an hour, we see the old "pick up a jacket and the evidence falls out of the pocket" trick, not once, but twice in this film (when Charlie picks up Gus' jacket and finds the plane ticket and when Penelope picks up Charlie's jacket and finds her deputy's badge). What REALLY lets the film down is the characterisation of Schwimmer and Pegg. Charlie is a university-educated, moralistic, natural-born worrier with a daughter called Emily - sound familiar anyone? As one reviewer quite rightly points out, David Schwimmer (often) struggles to break away from his "Ross Gellerism's", and no where is it more apparent than in this film. As for Simon Pegg, the success of "Shaun" and "Hot Fuzz" lies in the fact that the humour is so very British. When Shaun goes to get a Cornetto from the local shop in his Sunday morning hung-over state, despite slipping in a pool of blood and nearly being attacked by a zombified tramp, he barely notices what is going on around him. When he finally does notice and needs to come up a with a plan to save his loved one's, he takes them to the one place that he is familiar with - the pub. This is a typical English reaction to a crisis - ignore it and hope it will go away - if it doesn't, go to the pub! It is this sort of uncaring, ironic humour that makes Shaun so great - taken across the Atlantic we are left with an overweight, poor American-accented man who has the same facial expressions as his British counter-part, but isn't so lovable for being such an underachiever.
on 20 June 2008
As you can see from my rating I didn't particularly like this film, it felt like the first draft of the script had been produced in the hope the audience might forget the glaringly obvious plot holes present in nearly every scene . There are glimmers of brilliance, notably from Simon Pegg, but these are quickly diminshed by the nonsensical script. For a comedy like this to work it must be believable, whereas this simply goes from one implausible scene to the next.
Rent, Do NOT buy.