Everything Must Go (R) 96 minutes C+
Starring Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Laura Dern, Michael Peña and Stephen Root.
If you've the seen the trailer for Everything Must Go then you've seen the funniest parts of this film. Despite a deadpan Will Ferrell and a dash of humor, this is not a comedy. The film falls into a genre I like to call "broken man". Broken man films are usually depressing and strange black dramedies or profoundly dark dramas in which the male protagonist is falling apart and/or experiencing some sort of major life crisis. I'm a fan of this genre and some of my favorite examples include: Leaving Las Vegas, The Weather Man, Sideways, Eyes Wide Shut, The Square, A Single Man, Adaptation, and The Wrestler.
Everything Must Go is based on a Raymond Carver short story in which Ferrell plays an alcoholic who is having a very bad day. Upon being fired from his job he goes home to discover his wife has locked him out, discarded all of his belongings on the front lawn, changed the locks, frozen the joint bank account and left. He spends the next fours days trying to drink himself into oblivion and selling his things.
I like Will Ferrell and I'm always curious about any film he does, yet there's not enough here for him to carry this one on his own. Every scene with Rebecca Hall is terrific, Laura Dern is good in a cameo role and Christopher Jordan Wallace (son of Faith Evan & Notorious B.I.G) is a functional side kick. But ultimately this is Ferell's film and his metamorphosis is not quite convincing enough to push me over the hump.
Personally, I love seeing comedic actors like Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Hugh Grant, etc, portraying dark/serious characters from time to time. However, if you prefer your funny men funny, skip this one.
For further viewing of serious/semi-serious Will Ferrell see Stranger than Fiction and Melinda Melinda.