21. EVERYTHING MUST GO
Director: Dan Rush
Stars: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher “C.J.” Wallace, Laura Dern, Michael Pena
At first glance, Everything Must Go is off-putting. It’s a Will Ferrell movie with laughs, but the gags are nowhere to be seen, nor any pratfalls, man-child freak-outs, or outlandish characters to render things sophomoric. There’s just Ferrell playing a normal guy, in a film about how guys cope with such devils as alcoholism and domestic fallout. The man once known as Ron Burgundy is simply acting, well at that, playing a role that’s vulnerable, self-effacing, and down on his luck; how Ferrell handles all of those facets like a boss is the movie’s charm, as well as why it’s the funnyman’s best acting to date.
Based on a Raymond Carver short story, Everything Must Go follows Nick Halsey (Ferrell), who’s fired from his job due to booze, and whose wife leaves him, throws all of his shit on their front lawn, and changes their house’s door locks. As Nick establishes residence on his lawn, he befriends an insecure kid (C.J. Wallace, son of Biggie Smalls and a fine young actor) and a recently married neighbor (Rebecca Hall), both of whom help him to not drink himself into a Pabst Blue Ribbon-doused grave.
The debut of writer-director Dan Rush, Everything Must Go coasts on Ferrell’s nuanced performance, breaking the quiet drama up with sporadic, and effective, comedy moments that allow Ferrell’s core fan base to connect with it. But, in the end, this small character piece is most notable for showing that he has a legitimate acting career to fall back upon once the lure of cashable duds like Land Of The Lost wears thin. Who would’ve known that we’d end up looking forward to that day?