‘Everything Must Go’ shows that Ferrell can hold his own

Everything Must Go (2011)

Directed by Dan Rush

6.5/10 R

Have you ever had an awful day? If “yes,” keep reading, it will make you feel tons better. If “no,” keep reading…it will make me feel better. Based on the short story “Why Don’t You Dance?” by Raymond Carter, Will Ferrell’s latest dramedy focuses on a man with nothing left. Everything Must Go is directed and co-written by Dan Rush. Never heard of Dan Rush? Maybe it’s because this film marks his directorial and screenwriting debut.

Nick (Ferrell) has lost his Scottsdale, Arizona sales job after 16 years of dedicated service. Shoot. That same day, he arrives at home to see his yard covered in his belongings, some very valuable. Darn. In fact, it was all of his belongings. He comes to the realization that his wife Katherine (whom we never see in the movie, and only hear once) has kicked him out of their home. Awful. Nick checks the bank, where he finds his wife has blocked their account (it’s a joint account, why couldn’t he unfreeze it?), plus, his credit card maxes out, so he is also broke. Suicide watch. All because this former alcoholic relapsed, causing a new mess of troubles that neither his boss nor his wife could deal with (“more of a drunk who occasionally did interesting things” was used to describe Nick’s father, but really the same applies to the kin). His new, pregnant neighbor Samantha (Rebecca Hall, The Town) and a local boy, Kenny (Christopher Wallace) help Nick with his belongings, starting a yard sale in order to earn enough cash to move on. Things can only get better, except for the plot in this unfortunate stinker of a movie.

The popularity of Will Ferrell continues into another dramedy (not as superb as Stranger than Fiction, though). Rebecca Hall compliments the comedy giant well, and rarely steals the spotlight. C.J. Wallace, in his acting debut—multiple debuts in this relatively popular new film—is startlingly swell as the socially awkward kid down the road. His debut role is refreshing, and comes with a bit of baggage in the form of social commentary. But hey, what movie now -a-days doesn’t have just a smidge of social persuasion of some sort? Ensemble wins for Everything Must Go.

Not every part of this dramedy (90% drama, 10% comedy) is splendid, however. The one bad thing is…

Didn’t like that? Well that’s how the movie ends. Questions remain stirring about Nick, Samantha, Nick’s ex- (or not?) wife, and even Kenny. It’s not even that epic species of ambiguous endings; the ones that Inception and The Wrestler provided to give employees an excuse to actually talk around the water cooler. This ending is sad, it’s desperate, it’s too broad to start a “did he or didn’t he?” debate.

I’ll recommend the movie if you like slow movies, Will Ferrell, or a unique script idea. If it’s free to see it, see it. But if you don’t enjoy it, you were warned.

Everything Must Go is now on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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