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Big Nothing

Crime caper comedy "Big Nothing" is a lot of energy chasing very little. Uneasy performance mix of Yank and British thesps, headed by a dull David Schwimmer and over-amped Simon Pegg, is a big letdown from writer-director Jean-Baptiste Andrea after his inventive 2003 low-budgeter "Dead End."

Crime caper comedy “Big Nothing” is a lot of energy chasing very little. Uneasy performance mix of Yank and British thesps, headed by a dull David Schwimmer and over-amped Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead”), is a big letdown from writer-director Jean-Baptiste Andrea after his inventive 2003 low-budgeter “Dead End.” Wordy script and desperate-to-entertain tone quickly pall. Pic crashed and burned on Dec. 1 release in Blighty, though ancillary afterlife could be respectable.

Set in Big Falls, Ore. — but actually shot in B.C., Wales and the Isle of Man — yarn pairs call-center colleagues Charlie (Schwimmer) and Gus (Pegg), joined by pushy diner chick Josie (Alice Eve, good), as they blackmail a local reverend for accessing porn Web sites. A long night of mayhem ensues as the bodies mount (Mimi Rogers’ cameo is a collector’s item) and a sleazy FBI agent (Jon Polito) and Charlie’s cop wife (Natascha McElhone) get involved. Andrea’s maxed-out visual style is totally at odds with the basic material, which is actually a low-key character comedy. Despite some clever plot twists, wearying result feels as phony as Pegg’s and McElhone’s Yank accents.

Big Nothing

U.K.

  • Production: A Pathe release of a Pathe Prods., Ingenious Film Partners production, in association with Isle of Man Film, Wales Creative I.P. Fund. (International sales: Pathe Pictures Intl., London.) Produced by Andras Hamori, Gabriella Stollenwerck. Executive producers, Francois Ivernel, Cameron McCracken, Duncan Reid, Steve Christian. Directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea. Screenplay, Andrea, Billy Asher.
  • Crew: Camera (Fujicolor, Deluxe prints, widescreen), Richard Greatrex; editor, Antoine Vareille; music, Alan Anton; production designers, Sophie Becher, Keith Maxwell; art director, Amelia Shankland; costume designer, Ffion Elinor. Reviewed at Empire 1, London, Dec. 6, 2006. Running time: 84 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> David Schwimmer, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve, Jon Polito, Natascha McElhone, Mimi Rogers, Billy Asher, Mitchell Mullen.
  • Music By: