A Fantastic Fear of Everything (15) 100 mins *
This scarily misconceived directorial debut from Crispian Mills, erstwhile frontman of Britpop throwbacks Kula Shaker, takes an early wrong turn in confining us to the airless Hackney flat of Jack (Simon Pegg), a paranoid writer left gibbering by his research into Victorian killers. After forty-five minutes of Pegg-in-his-pants, we’re mercifully allowed outside, though Jack’s bid to make a life-changing meeting prompts only mirthless diversions involving launderettes, suspiciously helpful policemen, and Christmas signifiers that suggest the film would have emerged six months ago if anybody had the remotest confidence in it.
Between tiresome nerd-nods – yes, well done Crispian, you’ve seen Psycho – Mills fosters almost avant-garde levels of incoherence and tedium: entire ten-minute stretches depend on us waiting for a washing machine to stop spinning. Pegg summons his usual high energy – his dancing to gangster rap is just one of the lame ideas assembled for your non-pleasure – but it’s like pouring Lucozade on a cadaver: a dead loss. In recent years, the star has signed on for How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Burke & Hare, Paul, Tintin and now this. If it weren’t for the money, Simon, that really would be something to worry about.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything is in cinemas nationwide.