MOVIE REVIEW: Everything Must Go
Will Ferrell can be funny and pathetic in this great film
In the entertainment world, we have the romantic – Paul McCartney – getting hitched for a third time. We have California golden couple Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger getting divorced after 25 years together. In the movies, we have Maya Rudolph getting married in Bridesmaids. And we have Will Ferrell getting divorced in Everything Must Go. And it’s one of my favorite movies of the year.
It’s always refreshing to see an actor that usually goes over-the-top, scaling back to play a character that doesn’t call for that craziness. Ferrell showed he could act in Stranger Than Fiction (which was okay). I liked him a bit more neurotic in Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda. In this film, he’s a salesman that loses his job.
The movie was based on a short story, and I like the directions it took. A few of the things you see coming, some you don’t. I didn’t care for the Rebecca Hall character, but really enjoyed Laura Dern in her small role as a former classmate. The young African-American boy that befriends Ferrell, and helps him when he “decides” to have a garage sale, is played wonderfully by Christopher Jordan Wallace. They made his character smart, but not precocious. The chemistry he and Ferrell have is a joy to watch unfold.
I like when a movie has an alcoholic that’s portrayed in a more realistic fashion – the way this movie was. Jack Lemmon played one well in The Days of Wine and Roses back in the early ‘60s. Denzel Washington played a functioning alcoholic in the underrated Courage Under Fire in the mid-90s.
It’s also refreshing when you can root for Ferrell’s character. Sure, he might urinate in an expensive Koi pond, but he’s generally a good guy. Ferrell pulls off the pathos, and his face surprisingly doesn’t bring the baggage you’d think.
Right from the get-go, Ferrell is nice to the neighborhood kid. He initially thinks the kid is circling the block looking to steal his stuff, but after talking to him, he realizes he’s just bored. When they have conversations about life, it seems so realistic. Ferrell feels bad the kid is made fun of for being fat, and when they jokingly tell “Your mama’s so fat” jokes, I love how Ferrell gets when he has to get serious (I can’t tell you what happens, that would spoil the scene).
Even the boss that opens the movie firing Ferrell, is done realistically. This film doesn’t have the clerk at the liquor store saying crazy stuff, or his AA sponsor being corny, or an old lady staring out the window and wondering what he’s doing on his lawn with all his furniture.
And you can’t say “I don’t like Will Ferrell movies” as your excuse to miss this. Every silly comedian you can name, has done serious roles in good movies (anybody remember Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love?). Do yourself a favor and see this movie.
I’m giving it an A-.