Land of the Lost
dir Brad Silberling
scr Chris Henchy, Dennis McNicholas
prd Jimmy Miller, Sid Krofft, Marty Krofft
with Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone, Matt Lauer, Leonard Nimoy, John Boylan, Bobb'e J Thompson, Ben Best, Dennis McNicholas, Chris Henchy, Michael Papajohn
release US 5.Jun.09, UK 31.Jul.09
09/US Universal 1h41
Land of the Lost
Beware the Sleesak: McBride, Ferrell and Friel

lauer nimoy thompson
edinburgh film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Land of the Lost Although you can see the filmmakers trying to pay homage to Sid & Marty Krofft's nutty 1970s TV series, this film is just too random and silly to make any sense at all. Although there are a few laughs along the way.

After a humiliating appearance on TV, Dr Rick Marshall (Ferrell) continues with his research into time travel, seeking a parallel dimension where past, present and future all mix together. The missing ingredient turns out to be a sexy-brainy assistant, namely Holly (Friel), who urges him to test his invention. They're zapped into chaotic jungle-desert world along with the clueless Will (McBride). While looking for a way home, they team up with monkey-boy Cha-Ka (Taccone) and encounter a psycho T-rex and an army of lizard men.

Ferrell can do this kind of wackiness in his sleep; indeed, he often seems to be dozing off during this film as this food-obsessed, showtune-loving sketch comedy character. Fortunately, he's terrific at offhanded improv, making it feel utterly effortless. Friel and McBride must work a little harder opposite him, but both have hilarious moments along the way as the plucky scientist and up-for-anything chucklehead.

Around them, director Silberling blends first-rate effects and visually arresting images along with alien creatures who look like men in homemade costumes. This is obviously meant as a nod to the original TV show, but the strange mix is more of a distraction than a gag. And the whole film feels utterly random, like the script was loosely outlined by 10-year-old boys and then never fleshed out. It's essentially a bundle of silly set pieces punctuated by running gags about bodily fluids and Holly's breasts.

This parallel world has no internal logic, but neither does any single scene. We don't really expect logic in a goofy movie like this, but is it too much to ask why Holly speaks fluent monkey-language only some of the time? And while there are plenty of amusing moments (the vampire mosquito, the T-rex pole vault), there's not a single big laugh. Or any real reason for this film to have been made, for that matter.

cert 12 themes, violence, vulgarity 15.Jul.09

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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall