DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Big Nothing
Big Nothing
First Look Pictures // R // June 19, 2007
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by David Cornelius | posted June 28, 2007 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
Given a barely-there release in the UK and relegated to the direct-to-video treatment Stateside, Jean-Baptiste Andrea's "Big Nothing" deserves a chance to be seen. It's one of those one-damn-thing-after-another farces in which the comedy goes for pitch black and the anxiety reaches critical mass.

With Wales and British Columbia standing in for small town Oregon, the film teams David Schwimmer and Simon Pegg as a couple of everymen caught up in an ever-increasing criminal mess. Charlie (Schwimmer) is a struggling writer who reluctantly takes a job at the local customer service call center, a mammoth, soulless place employing most of the town. The gig doesn't last long, but it's enough to let him befriend Gus (Pegg), a foul-mouthed slickster of questionable moral value. Gus talks Charlie into helping him with a blackmail scheme, something involving a local reverend and his penchant for illegal porn. Joining the caper is Josie (Alice Eve), the former Miss Teen Oklahoma and possessor of the only real smarts in this outfit.

As you'd expect, everything goes horribly wrong for the trio, and very quickly, the single evening that was supposed to land them thousands in cash winds up a nightmare as they struggle to dispose of multiple corpses, all while making upsetting discoveries about each other. Oh, and by the way: Simon's wife is a cop (Natascha McElhone) who puts law over love. Oh my.

Director/co-writer Andrea (whose previous effort was the well-received DTV thriller "Dead End") and co-writer Billy Asher (who also appears on screen as a hapless deputy) keep the farce as tight as possible - at a slim 85 minutes, there's no room for the movie to wander off into unnecessary territory. The cast and crew show a wonderful knack for screwball pacing, while at the same time, they ensure nothing becomes rushed; Pegg and Schwimmer are masters of restrained rage here, and instead of manic screaming, they underplay the frenzy to pitch-perfect levels.

Such restraint allows for the story to go well over-the-top. Andrea takes comic violence to hilarious lengths, although such lengths wouldn't be nearly as hilarious if they weren't handled with great care. When one character is dispatched in a rather gruesome manner, we can giggle because as soon as it happens, Andrea dials down the chaos, letting the violence bounce off the calmness of the moment.

Indeed, a farce of this nature could have spun out of control fifty different ways, as the panic builds and builds and as everyone begins trying to outsmart each other, yet everything is always kept properly in check. "Big Nothing" is a work of dark comic insanity that never gets away from itself. Its cast keeps the lunacy close to the ground, while the filmmakers keep the comedy rolling forward at a feverish pace. The combination allows for large laughs throughout.

The DVD

Video & Audio


First Look presents "Big Nothing" in a gorgeous anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) transfer (and not, thank goodness, the flat 1.78:1 letterbox the packaging mistakenly states). For its tight budget, the film still manages to look very slick, especially in the more scenic shots. Most of the story takes place at night, with careful use of light/dark balances, and the transfer handles this very well.

The soundtrack is delivered in your choice of Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 2.0; both sound solid. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Extras

Thirty minutes of interviews with cast and crew sound like a good thing, until you discover they're just EPK sound bites offering very little beyond the usual "this is what my character is like" and "this is how great it is to work with everybody" fluff.

The trailer for "Big Nothing" and a handful of other First Look releases round out the set.

Final Thoughts

Despite the disappointing lack of extras, this one's still Highly Recommended for the main attraction alone, a sly, clever twister of a comedy.
Popular Reviews
1. Godzilla (2014)
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Classics
3. Eraserhead
4. Night Moves
5. Lolly-Madonna XXX (Warner Archive Collection)
6. Chef
7. Stagefright
8. Hannibal: Season Two
9. Any Given Sunday: 15th Anniversary
10. The Moonshine War (Warner Archive Collection)


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use