Everything Must Go

As an alcoholic whose estranged wife dumps his belongings on the front lawn and locks him out of the house — on the same day he loses his job — Will Ferrell turns his shtick down a notch or two, and for the first time in his career, convincingly portrays a human being. This is easily the most exciting thing about Everything Must Go, which papers over some seriously dark subject matter (Ferrell was fired due to a rape accusation; his wife, never seen, appears to be psychotic) to be as dull and anodyne as possible. For 96 minutes, it putters along in the same mopey, sad-sack mode, like the movie version of the running gag in Arrested Development where all the characters alternately perform the same dejected walk of shame, eyes to the ground, with mournful music on the soundtrack.

Stuck living on his lawn, Ferrell makes friends with a chubby neighborhood kid, and tentatively makes eyes at his sexy, married, pregnant new neighbor (Rebecca Hall). He is forced to come to terms with the loss of everything that he thought made him who he was — a potent subject, but everything here’s too indie-sanitized to even be properly sad. It certainly isn’t funny. Ironically, Everything Must Go is at its best when we get a glimpse of the old, crazy Will Ferrell. The fleeting moment when he flips out on a convenience store clerk who won’t spot him a six-pack of PBR has more life coursing through it than the entire rest of the film.

-- Eugene Novikov

everythingmustgo
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