Big Nothing

Big Nothing


Reviewed by: Chris

Big Nothing, a dark comedy about a scam that gradually gets worse, is a movie that gradually gets better. The first half has Simon Pegg (Shaun Of The Dead) running around with Friends star David Schwimmer and talented, blonde Alice Eve. They plan a scam that goes increasingly wrong. Woody Allen would have done it so much better - one of his silly, stumbling crime capers like Curse Of The Jade Scorpion. But as the bodies pile up and the heavy rock soundtrack and funky camerawork kick in, Big Nothing gets bigger and better. Eventually it is clear that the filmmakers don't give a toss and are just having a laugh - whether or not you join them depends largely on your taste in comedy.

Charlie (Schwimmer) is trying to be an author but no-one wants to buy him. His wife Penelope (Natascha McElhone) is a deputy sheriff, but they are struggling to raise their child on one income. Charlie meets Gus (Pegg) at a call centre but gets fired on the first day. With their friend Josie, they hatch a well-meaning scam to blackmail a porno-hoarding priest. When the day comes, everything they do goes wrong and corpses are littering the landscape faster than you can say low-budget film off the coast of Wales (but really meant to be in Oregon). But Big Nothing is amusing in a way that is not immediately obvious, and if you stay till the end (including the extra couple of outtakes in the credits) it may grow on you.

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In the technical support call centre, Gus and Charlie repeatedly ask callers if they have switched their computers on, and swear at them while pressing the mute button. Is this meant to be funny or is it a joke about dumb jokes? Big Nothing is a very uneven film, whether by intention or design. We reject one kind of humour only to have another sneak up on us. "I happen to be a very good con man," says Gus. "What do you want me to do - waste it?" There are ripples of laughter in the audience. The increasingly unlikely twists with people dying unexpectedly (like a passive version of a slasher spoof) get confusing. Although there's a very direct reference to The Matrix, it's almost as if the filmmakers have too low an attention span to continue in one vein for very long. Multiple screens and hand-sketches of plot developments add visual interest, and with Rammstein blaring in the background you might cease to care.

Keep a few cans of Bud to watch this one with - it might improve it and can't make it any worse.

Reviewed on: 23 Nov 2006
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Big Nothing packshot
Two friends find themselves out of their depth after a blackmail scheme goes wrong.
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Director: Jean-Baptiste Andrea

Writer: Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Billy Asher

Starring: Simon Pegg, David Schwimmer, Alice Eve, Natascha McElhone, Jon Polito, Mimi Rogers, Billy Asher, Mitchell Mullen, Sarah Edmondson, Amber Rose Sealey, Olivia Peterson

Year: 2006

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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