Directed By Dan Rush
Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Michael Pena
Every twenty films or so Will Ferrell digs deep and does something serious and heartfelt. Sure, his comedy comes through no matter what he does, but these movies are different. Stranger Than Fiction was the first movie like this for Ferrell. Everything Must Go is the second. This 2010 film was directed by Dan Rush, the same guy who wrote the story. This is the first directing effort for Rush.
The film has a cast of familiar faces including Will Ferrell (Zoolander, Elf), Rebecca Hall (The Town, The Prestige), Michael Pena (The Lincoln Lawyer, Million Dollar Baby), and Laura Dern (I Am Sam, Lonely Hearts). It also features Christopher Jordan Wallace, the son of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G..
Alcoholic Nick Halsey (Ferrell) just lost his job. Upon returning home he finds his wife gone, the locks changed, and all of his stuff on the front lawn. Now he’s left to live on his front lawn. Between beers he meets Kenny (Wallace), a young kid he enlists to help him sell his stuff. As he prepares his things for sale, he meets Samantha (Hall), a young woman moving into the house across the street. While he seeks to put his life back together he has to fight through his alcoholism and the demons that have chased him for much of his adult life. With the help of Kenny and Samantha he might be able to move forward, just as soon as he sells his stuff.
This was another surprisingly serious movie from Ferrell. Like Stranger Than Fiction he manages to put together a great role without relying on the comedy he’s built his career on. Hall is a great person to play opposite Ferrell in this movie. She does a great job with the range of emotions called upon for the role. The real surprise of the cast is the young Wallace. He might have a musical heritage, but I hope that he continues to act. He put together a great performance for someone so young.
There is some weakness to the film. The movie glosses over some points in the story that might have been better with some background information. This doesn’t hurt the film, but it did require certain assumptions to be made as I watched the movie.
The story is sad, using the troubles of Nick’s life as the basis for the events that transpire. Any comedy in the movie comes from the irony of the situations Nick is placed in. The focus on his alcoholism is deep and powerful as well.
I think this is a wonderful movie. If you’re only watching because you love Ferrell’s films be prepared for something different. (Think Seth Rogen in 50/50) I would recommend this movie for anyone who loves drama and human emotion played out on the big screen. I give this one 3.8 out of 5 stars.