Friday, May 13, 2011

Movie with Abe: Everything Must Go

Everything Must Go
Directed by Dan Rush
Released May 13, 2011

Will Ferrell has a very notable screen presence. Very often, he’s the comic lead or supporting star who steals the show with his loud antics and humorous actions. Ferrell has played subtle before, however, in more subdued roles in films like “Stranger Than Fiction,” and, to an extent, his recent arc on the television series “The Office.” Now, he’s back in a similar role as Nick Halsey, a down-on-his-luck man who, after he loses his job and gets thrown out of his home by his wife, must figure out how to recollect his life and learn how to start over.

Though Nick is quickly established as a drunk prone to fits of fury and embarrassment, Ferrell declines the opportunity to showboat, instead portraying Nick as a man motivated by kindness but often overshadowed by laziness and a weakness for alcohol. Nick is clearly the wronged party, and instantly becomes the hero of the story, even if he doesn’t seem to be the most sympathetic of personalities. Returning home on the day of his firing to find all of his possessions strewn out on his lawn and his house impenetrable thanks to new locks, Nick is forced to reshape his perspective out in the open air.

“Everything Must Go” is a comedy that lives very much within its own bubble, which is to say that, for the duration of the film, only the characters seen on screen seem to exist. That lends the film a feeling of intimacy and allows for deep connections to be made to the various players, be it Nick, his pregnant neighbor Samantha, his young new friend Kenny, or his sponsor Frank. It detracts slightly from the authenticity of the film to presume that nothing else is going on and no one else is important, yet a film such as this shouldn’t be just on such merits since it isn’t meant to be taken literally.

Ferrell’s performance is just the right tune for the film, and he’s supported ably by those around him. Rebecca Hall shines as a lonely woman waiting for both her husband and her baby to arrive who takes a liking to her peculiar neighbor. Christopher Jordan Wallace, in his second-ever screen performance, believably embodies a boy without any sense of purpose or drive in his life, and he plays very well off of Ferrell, responding and maturing in just the right way. Stephen Root reliably occupies his new go-to role as an arrogant, obnoxious businessman determined to squash anyone else’s dreams. Altogether, the cast is strong. The film is fun, endearing, and engaging, and even if it’s a bit light on its story, it’s an entirely enjoyable experience nonetheless.


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