By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 9 out of 10
Everything Must Go is the latest Will Ferrell film that has swept under the radar due to summer blockbusters. Think of everything you know about Will Ferrell, flip it upside-down and you end up with this great film. Everything Must Go can be viewed as a dry self-discovery story or a dark tale of a man that is in a downward spiral. In this case, it’s both.
Will Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, a top-notch business guy who’s about to have the worst day of his life. He gets fired from his job, his wife leaves him, stranding him out on his front lawn. His only resort is to live on his lawn, drinking his sorrows away for everyone else to see. Detective Frank Garcia (Michael Pena), a friend of Nick’s, buys him some time so he can hold a yard sale to sell all his stuff, or it’s off to jail. With some help from Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), he aims not only to sell his stuff, but to turn his life around.
The film, written and directed by Dan Rush, was adapted from Raymond Carver’s short story “Why Don’t You Dance?” Rush has done a magnificent job on expanding on Carver’s work while staying true to its spirit and giving more story for Ferrell’s character.
The same goes for Ferrell, who has made a breathtaking performance as Halsey. Fans of Ferrell, who are accustomed to his raunchy style of humor, won’t be seeing him anywhere. This is not the same Will Ferrell. Yes, Ferrell did do more serious material in his Golden Globe nominated performance in 2006’s Stranger Than Fiction, but in this film Ferrell goes into further territory. “I’m no different than any of you, I just don’t hide in my house,” says Halsey, giving justification to his new lifestyle while metaphorically slapping his neighbors in the face.
There are more moments where the audience watches him then here’s him speak. When he uses exercise equipment, plays with a view-master, or showers with the hose, these are the lighter moments of the film.
However, the film is mainly are dark story. This is one of Ferrell’s most darkest and honest roles to date. There are funny moments, but the overall mood is grim. It’s not a bad thing, but when you watch the trailer, it’s like showing you one thing, and giving you something else. Throughout the story, Halsey deals with a relapse of alcoholism, which has caused him his job and wife. This factor, which is a central part of the story, is not mentioned in the trailers at great length so it’s almost an “out-of-left-field” experience. However, Ferrell ends up surprising everyone in a beautiful way by sticking to the vision and words of Rush.
The supporting cast is a delight. Rebecca Hall, who plays Samantha, is a delight, and Laura Dern, who plays Delilah, is just as charming. Wallace, the son of famed late rapper Biggie Smalls, turns a sweet and funny performance. It’s these performances that shed light in a predominantly serious piece of work.
What’s a shame though is how few people give movies like this a chance. Whether it’s Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love, Robin Williams in World’s Greatest Dad, or Will Ferrell in this film, the main stream audience doesn’t want to see their favorite stars in something different. It’s a shame too, because they’re missing out on something original and great.
Everything Must Go is a great piece of work by Rush that will sure to get some critical acclaim for him and Ferrell alike. A dark, serious, funny journey of finding yourself when all seems lost, and Ferrell amazes, hitting all the right notes and the notes you didn’t expect.