Everything Must Go
I've always been pretty big fan of Raymond Carver but I've never felt like his stuff translates to the screen very well. He is sort of John Cassevetes in short story form already and it just doesn't seem like it can come back onto the screen. Short Cuts is pretty great but I give the majority of the credit to Robert Altman and Julianne Moore's bottomless scene.
Everything Must Go is based on one of the Carver stories that I, actually, have not read. He's, Carver that is, frequently funny so I didn't rule out Will Ferrell as a possible stand out in this role. I find Ferrell funniest at his most subtle. I had to assume that he was going to pull it way back for this role and he did. But I'm not sure he completely pulled it off. The movie is pretty slow and Ferrell is in pretty much in every single frame so it's a lot to carry. I give him a lot of credit for putting himself out there.
Ferrell plays basically the same guy who is in every Raymond Carver story. A slightly too smart for his own good drunk with both lady and work troubles. In this case, he gets fired from his job by one of the guys from It's Always Sunny (that's got to sting) only to arrive home to find all of his belongings on his front lawn and his wife absent from their home. He then decides to live on the lawn for as long as the police will let him. I won't give to much of the plot away because not all that much happens.
The best scenes are with a little kid from the neighborhood who happens to be played by Notorious B.I.G.'s son. They play off each other well as Ferrell teaches him theories on sales while hocking all of his junk off the lawn. Ferrell isn't as sure of himself in scenes with his new neighbor, played by one of my favorite actresses Rebecca Hall. Ferrell is pretty convincing when playing drunk but he isn't as able at playing a drunk. His performance is good but I was left wanting a little bit more from him. I guess that's the most you can hope for with Will Ferrell though. It's a better performance than the one he delivered in Stranger Than Fiction.
Everything Must Go sort of solidifies his position near the top of the list of contenders as "The New Tom Hanks." Why everyone is yearning for this I'm not sure but people sure seem to be. He's got to be ahead of Adam Sandler whose jaunts into drama have been choppy at best. Is he a better dramatic actor than Jack Black? I don't know. He's certainly no Steve Martin or Bill Murray though. Of course, the best performance by a comedian in a dramatic role is Richard Pryor in Blue Collar.