Everything Must Go
dir-scr Dan Rush
prd Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
with Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Peña, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Laura Dern, Glenn Howerton, Stephen Root, Rosalie Michaels, Shannon Whirry, Eleese Longino, Bill Buell, Katie Soo
release UK Oct.10 lff, US 13.May.11
10/US 1h35
Everything Must Go
Yard sale: Ferrell

hall pena dern
london film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Everything Must Go Based on a Raymond Carver story, this is a slice-of-life film about an extraordinary situation. There isn't much drama, which might put off some moviegoers, but it's a nicely observed film with a terrific performance by Ferrell.

Nick (Ferrell) is having a very bad day. After being sacked for failing to get his alcoholism under control, he arrives home to find that his wife has changed the locks and dumped his stuff outside. It's Arizona, so the weather's not bad, and he decides to live on his lawn. His AA sponsor Frank (Pena), who's also a cop, tells him he can stay there for five days, and as he settles in, he hires a kid (Wallace) as an assistant and gets to know a new neighbour (Hall).

Even though it's essentially a black comedy, writer-director Rush keeps the tone light, with flashes of darkness and a continual undercurrent of bewildering desperation. Nick never quite sees the hopelessness of his situation because he numbs himself with beer, but then his wife is gone, his bank account frozen, his company car reclaimed and his mobile phone cut off. As the days pass, he slowly realises that holding on to all of his stuff is pointless, so why not have a yard sale?

Ferrell plays this perfectly, without a hint of the caricature he usually brings to his roles. Nick is a believable everyman, a nice guy who has let alcohol derail his life. Ferrell's interaction with the entire cast is natural and telling, developing different kinds of camaraderie with each other character, including a terrific one-scene role for Dern. Hall and Wallace are especially good, bringing unexpected life to characters who could have been pretty thin.

When he wrote his story, Why Don't You Dance?, Carver couldn't have known where our economy was headed, but the premise has a prescient relevance today, provocatively looking at how our expectations are being dismantled by both shifts in society and the current financial chaos. Even though we are watching this through a lightly comedic prism, Nick's struggle to come to grips with his new reality is often painful. But the film's most potent message is that human connections remain our strongest hope, whatever happens.

cert 15 themes, language 4.Oct.10 lff

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