At the Movies: Everything Must Go

I would’ve gone to see “Priest,” but they didn’t screen it. I could’ve gone to see “Bridesmaids,” but frankly I’d rather be shot in the eye by a Navy SEAL. So all I’ve got for you today is a big-time comic in a low-key dramedy.

Everything Must Go 

Will Ferrell is not known for subtle comedy. He typically plays bombastic buffoons in films like “Anchorman” and “Talladega Nights.” But like many comic actors he occasionally veers into more serious fare. His latest movie lies squarely in the latter category.

Based on a short story by Raymond Carver, “Everything Must Go” is the story of Nick Halsey (Farrell), a salesman and alcoholic whose life is upended and scattered on the lawn.

One morning Nick is called into the big office where he is informed that he has been fired. He drives home only to discover that all his earthly possessions have been dumped on the front yard and the locks have been changed on all the doors. His wife has left town and wants him gone by the time she returns.

But Nick doesn’t pack up and move out. Instead, he sets up court in his lounge chair in the front yard and starts drinking. He is befriended by Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), a teenager whose mother works up the street, and Samantha (Rebecca Hall), a pregnant woman who just moved in across the street.

Not all the neighbors are so obliging, and soon the police arrive and tell Nick to move on. But Nick’s friend Frank (Michael Peña) finds a loophole in the local laws that allow Nick to stay where he is for three more days if he’s having a yard sale. Nick hires Kenny to organize his possessions for sales purposes but his heart isn’t really in it.

Written and directed by Dan Rush, “Everything Must Go” is a slow-paced dark comedy with indie sensibilities. The actors are fine but it’s hard to buy that Samantha would keep crossing the street to be Nick’s friend after his repeated strange and abusive behavior.

Did it work for me? If you need a break from blockbusters, “Everything Must Go” is a decent alternative. It’s worth watching more for the performances than the story.

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