Simon Pegg, who is absolutely genius in films like Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Not so genius here. But first, about Big Nothing. It wasn't a *bad* movie. It had its funny moments, and a plot more twisted than my panties during exam season. David Schwimmer plays a loving, desperate father very well. The scenes between him and his daughter gave me the warm fuzzies. He has been fired from his teaching job do to a degenerative memory disorder, and in wanting to provide for his family, he gets involved with a call-center employee named Gus (Simon Pegg), who is planning on blackmailing a reverend for visiting illegal porn sites. Josie, an ex girlfriend of Gus', played by Alice Eve (*drool*) gets involved in the scam, and everything goes fine--until bodies start piling up.
Although it tries to be funny, the whole movie comes off a little flat. Its not nearly as cleverly funny as most of the movies we see Simon Pegg in. Nor is Pegg himself the same bumbling, easily frustrated, but unbelievably funny character he normally plays. In fact, he sort of just comes off as an asshole in Big Nothing. Which would be fine, maybe a nice bit of variety in his acting style, IF THIS WASNT SUPPOSED TO BE A COMEDY.
So, why is Pegg less funny than usual?
Is it the script? Maybe--although twisted, the plot is also as obvious as a baseball bat up the wazoo. The character of Gus himself? Perhaps. Though there is always plenty of room to make a conman funny. Is it just that Pegg isn't really the main character? Or maybe its because Pegg's comedic genius is completely overshadowed by Alice Eve's dazzling smile and hoop earrings.
No, what I really think is missing here (as Scott pointed out in the ten minutes he stayed awake during this movie) is the accent. Gus is from Vegas. Pegg has dropped his accent. Is it possible that without the accent, Simon Pegg just isn't funny?
I would argue, to a degree, yes. For example, the entire movie Hot Fuzz is made funny by its excessive Britishness. If you are not familiar with the pace and flavour of small-town British life, the entire first half of the movie can be incredibly dull, but if you are familiar with it, there is alot to laugh at. (I know, because I was the only one laughing like a moron in the first half of the movie when we saw it in theatre). Similarly, Pegg's character in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is given added humour by the way his laid-back, pub-cozy British character contrasts with the more uptight world of American fame and fortune.