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Big Nothing

2008-11-04 09:11
What it's about:

Charlie (David Schwimmer) is an unemployed teacher who takes a job as a call centre agent so he can support his young daughter and cop wife Penelope (Natascha McElhone). On his first (and last) day on the job, he meets Gus (Simon Pegg), also a seemingly down-on-his-luck dad, who with his ex-girlfriend Josie (Alice Eve) has a foolproof plan to put an end to their cash-flow problems. All he needs is Charlie's help with their blackmail scheme. But when the plan is set in motion, everything goes wrong and the trio's problems go from bad to worse.

What we thought of it:

Big Nothing is the kind of comedy that makes you feel guilty for laughing. It's a dark story of one very bad night in two men's lives filled with murder, money and septic tanks. You're thrown by so many unbelievable accidents that lead to no-win situations you really can't do anything else but laugh.

As a relative newcomer to feature films, director and co-writer Jean-Baptiste Andrea has a bright future ahead of him if Big Nothing is anything to judge by. For some, the many many plot twists might come as a shock to the system as the blackmailers' "foolproof" plan goes from bad to worse. And just when you think things can't get any worse, the absurd walks across the screen with an axe in her head.

David Schwimmer is the movie's conscience as the play-it-safe statistic-spouting Charlie. The Friends actor is great at playing the bumbling but loveable nerd to the point of possibly becoming typecast, as he simply seems to be projecting a more world-wise, cynical Ross Geller. But it's not that he isn't funny, we just wish he'd take a break from his awkward television persona.

Simon Pegg on the other hand, is quite the chameleon. It's not everyday that the Brit acts in a movie without also being credited as the writer, director, producer or all three. Despite the ludicrous American accent, Pegg is a pretty convincing conman and is truly the funniest export that's made the transatlantic journey since Monty Python.

The female supporting role played by Alice Eve, as Gus's ambitious ex-girlfriend, is given just enough room for her character to come to the fore without overshadowing her leading males. Playing Joise off as the blonde sidekick might not be inspired work, but it makes the unexpected unraveling of her own fate tragically amusing.

But the greatest thing about Big Nothing is that it can't be broken down into digestible chunks. It doesn't expect you to figure out the plot twists or character developments because nothing is as it seems. The script gets flipped on its head over and over and over again; in the end, you're not sure what the heck it is that you're suppose to be watching or who you're suppose to be rooting for. So, just go along for the ride, it's more fun that way.

- Megan Kakora

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An unemployed dad has the best blackmail intentions, but things go from bad to worse in this black comedy.

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