Ferrell finds the perfect dramatic fit

2011-11-18 07:47

Film: Everything Must Go
Director: Dan Rush
Featuring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall and Laura Dern
Rating: 6/10

I’ve never found Will Ferrell particularly amusing, and his status as a “comedy actor” has always mystified me.

So to see him in this quiet, understated drama was quite a treat, particularly because he isn’t a shabby dramatic actor. One can only hope that he will take on more projects in this genre.

Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, a suburban husband who loses his comfortable job – thanks to his alcoholism. He returns home to discover that his wife has changed the locks and moved all his belongings on to the front lawn.

For Nick, it seems as if every possible calamity has coincided to form one nightmarish moment.

Nick decides that because it’s his front yard, his furniture and his stuff, he has every right to make himself at
home – right there on the front lawn.

This, of course, is against local bylaws, but Nick is determined to stay right where he is until he is forcibly removed.

Nick then does something that got him into this awful mess in the first place: he visits the local convenience store to stock up on booze.

The film is based on a short story by Raymond Carver that is only six pages long, so the screenwriters have taken liberties in fleshing out the narrative bones.

In comes Nick’s friend, the cop, along with an attractive woman across the road and a neighbourhood kid who becomes Nick’s unlikely sidekick.

These extraneous elements threaten to take us down the sentimental route of most Hollywood commercial fare. However, while the film occasionally wobbles on that precipice, it remains largely faithful to the essence of Carver’s work.

For this, we owe thanks to the screenwriters, the director and Ferrell, who has chosen a project of substance.

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