“Will Ferrell shines” (Detroit News) as Nick, a career salesman who loses his wife and his job in the worst day of his life. Faced with his life imploding, Nick puts it all on the line – or, rather, on the lawn – as he moves himself and all his possessions to his front yard. Based on the short story by Raymond Carver, Everything Must Go
is “Will Ferrell as you’ve never seen him” (Rolling Stone) in this unflinching comedy about what happens after life falls apart.
Everything Must Go
finds Will Ferrell in a serious mood. But unlike many comedians seeking to demonstrate their acting chops, Ferrell doesn't confuse seriousness with humorlessness; instead, he discovers humor and pathos intertwined. When Nick Halsey (Ferrell) lapses back into alcoholism, his life falls apart--he loses his corporate job and his wife not only leaves him, she throws all of his belongings on the front lawn of their Arizona home. Because the law allows yard sales to go on for five days, Nick starts living on the front lawn with the pretense that he's going to sell all his possessions. He hires a boy named Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace, son of Notorious BIG) to make signs and generally assist, paying him minimum wage plus baseball lessons. He reaches out to the neighbor across the street (Rebecca Hall, Please Give
), argues with his sponsor (Michael Peña, Crash
), and tracks down a friend from high school (Laura Dern) as he struggles to make sense of what's happened to him. That explains the plot; much harder to explain is why this movie is so emotionally rich. Ferrell's performance is superb, understated but fully developed--Nick is a fully realized person. The whole cast is perfectly in tune with each other, making every interaction a small marvel of human behavior. An excellent film debut by writer-director Dan Rush, based on a short story by Raymond Carver. --Bret Fetzer