The Popcorn Reel

Will Ferrell as paleontologist Dr. Rick Marshall, with Anna Friel as Holly Cantrell and Danny McBride as Will Stanton in "Land Of The Lost", directed
by Brad Silberling.  (Photo: Universal Pictures)

Land Of The Lost

Will (Ferrell) Laughter See You Through Despite A "Lost" Film?  Oh, Yes.
By Omar P.L. Moore/     SHARE
Friday, June 5, 2009

Will Ferrell is at it again, and his physical comedy and affectations are funnier here than they've been since . . . "Old School"?  For many that's not saying much, but for those who can't help but laugh at a man who does the same thing in a different film again and again and again, you will find "Land Of The Lost", based on the cult television series, to be a laugh riot.  Pissed off at Matt Lauer of NBC TV's "Today" show, Dr. Rick Marshall (Mr. Ferrell) is a paleontologist who gets sucked into a time vortex -- to prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed and ruled.  He has an admirer of his work, Holly (Anna Friel), who joins him, as does a tour guide from what one might call Hillbilly Land (Danny McBride).  The combination of this trio isn't smooth yet they work together in comedic fashion quite well, even if there is an absence of real plot in Brad Silberling's film, which opened today across the U.S. and Canada.  The trio encounter Cha-Ka, an ape who talks English and other languages, as well as googly-eyed green giant lizard-like alien beings that would make the Geico commercial gekko even greener with envy than he already is.  The film's costumes on the would-be amphibians are tacky and that's the point, as the film pokes fun at the Jurassic Age and the absurdity of human interaction in it.

Songs by Cher and the troupe from the Tony Award-winning play "A Chorus Line" somehow hold up back in the prehistoric era, and the dinosaurs seem to be sedated by the latter in particular.  (Why didn't they try Jimi Hendrix or The Ramones, for heaven's sake??  Just imagine a dinosaur with its gargantuan fangs trying to pluck a guitar the way Mr. Hendrix once did with his teeth.)  Anyway, there's lots of mayhem and chaos in this new "Land Of The Lost", and everyone involved makes the most of it, even if they have to resort to things that their mothers warned them not to do.  The stupidity of many of the events are the film's most appealing aspect, and though "Land" is inanimate Mr. Ferrell's comic smarts allow it to move, albeit incrementally.  Yes, he does drink and eat things that he shouldn't.  Yes, he does go places he shouldn't, and so does the film, which also contains vigorous action and special affects.       

About Mr. Ferrell's comedy in specific: if one comes to this film expecting a rigorous discourse in filmmaking and an adherence to order and rigidity they'll need to go quite a bit more art-house and high-brow than this.  Mr. Ferrell's comedy is about the lowest common denominator: getting you to laugh from your gut, sometimes at things that are base, other times at things that you know aren't funny but because it's Our Man Will, laughter sees you through, even if this particular film is "Lost" -- not like the current J.J. Abrams television series -- but missing in action for large stretches.  Still, for its laugh factor alone, this "Land" is definitely your land.

With: Jorma Taccone, John Boylan and Bobb'e J. Thompson.

"Land Of The Lost" is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association Of America for crude and sexual content, and for language including a drug reference.  The film's running time is one hour and 32 minutes.

Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2009.  All Rights Reserved.


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