Will Ferrell’s comedy drama Everything Must Go really shows what a great actor he is.
A short story by the great Raymond Carver provides the material for a real gem of a first movie written and directed by Dan Rush – Everything Must Go.
I loved Will Ferrell reveal another side of himself in Marc Forster’s gorgeously surreal, dark comedy Stranger Than Fiction and thought this looked in a similar vein. And Everything Must Go certainly shows what a great actor he is, not just a great comedian. However, this story is very much in the here and now, rather than the fantastical imagination of Zach Helm’s Stranger Than Fiction world. Ferrell’s Nick Halsey starts off being fired from his job and returns home to find all of his belongings dumped by his wife on the front lawn. The wife is nowhere to be seen and so as she’s changed all the locks, it looks as though Nick will be camping outside with his memories for the forseeable future. What compounds Nick’s problems is that he’s an alcoholic and this isn’t the day to test his resolve to stay sober. Added to that are a kid on a bike that doesn’t seem to really have a home, a new neighbour waiting for her husband to arrive and a best friend trying to keep him out of trouble. Christopher C. J. Wallace, Rebecca Hall and Michael Pena play these three people brilliantly and there are also great performances from Stephen Root as the unconventional ‘landlord’ of the street and Laura Dern as Nick’s high school friend who could be part of his future.
But it’s Ferrell who’s at the centre of things and he really does blow you away. He can do the comedy – his glorious creation Ron Burgundy is returning next year in Anchorman 2 and before that we’ll see go head-to-head with Zack Galifianakis in The Campaign – but with movies like this and Stranger Than Fiction you see another side of him, a deep edgyness, a soulful humanity, the man behind the comedy mask. You’re so used to seeing the genius comic guises – Dr Rick Marshall in The Land of the Lost, Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro and Buddy in Elf, being my particular favourites – that it sometimes takes you a little while to realise in movies like this, you’re not really going to see that but you’re going to see something else. And that’s what this movie does so well, it takes you on a real journey with this character, not to some big revelation but to a point where you don’t know how it’s all going to end – and they’re sometimes the best ones – so I’m looking forward to Rush’s next movie on the strength of this and if he re-teams with Ferrell, we should see something pretty special.Tags: comedy drama, Dan Rush, Everything Must Go, Raymond Carver, Will Ferrell