Bevy Smith's Tribeca Film Fest Diary: Will Ferrell Gets Serious in Everything Must Go

Bevy Smith
Throughout the madness that is the Tribeca Film Festival, one of our favorite gals-about-town, Bevy Smith, will be reporting from the front lines. Here's her fourth installment...

Following his first dramatic turn in Marc Forster's 2006 film Stranger Than Fiction, Will Ferrell gets serious again in Everything Must Go. Based on an adaptation of Raymond Carver's short story Why Don't You Dance?, Ferrell plays Nick Porter, a senior level sales executive with a raging alcohol problem. The film opens with him being fired and coming home to find that his wife has left him, changed the locks and put all his possessions on the front lawn.

Nick decides to live on his lawn. If this were a Will Ferrell comedy, this is where hilarity would have ensued. But it wasn't, and instead Nick's AA sponsor (Michael Pena) tells him he can't live on the lawn, but he can have a five-day-long yard sale.

His companions are a motley crew. There's his new neighbor (Rebecca Hall), a melancholy pregnant photographer who doesn't seem to know if or when her husband will show up.  There's a weird cameo by Laura Dern as an old high school "friend" that he visits/stalks.  The real glue to Nick's life on the lawn is a chubby, socially awkward teen, Kenny (excellently played by Christopher Jordan Wallace, son of the Notorious BIG).  Kenny helps Nick organize his yard sale and in return Nick is supposed to teach him to play baseball.  Instead, Kenny becomes a bit of the "Magical Negro" role we've seen so many times, cooking for Nick, offering sage advice far beyond his years and reminding him to "fight back." In return, Kenny gets to play catch with Nick once and half the profits from the yard sale..... I guess it beats driving Miss. Daisy.

Ferrell's acting is solid and he doesn't rely on any of his trademark gags to get an easy laugh (although everyone in the theater chuckled during a shower scene at the sight of his infamous pudgy and pasty tummy). Everything Must Go is about purging and moving on, but let's hope Ferrell doesn't take it literally and abandon comedy. 

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