Everything Must Go

May 13, 2011

Immediately discernible as a serious Will Ferrell movie by the fact that his voice rarely raises above a defeated sigh and he keeps his shirt on, Everything Must Go takes a couple of gambles in adapting one of Raymond Carver’s more moving short stories. Those gambles include not only padding out Carver’s perfect, precise text into a feature-length film, but also casting one of America’s favorite walking, talking ids to play things mostly straight as a downtrodden alcoholic who loses his job, his wife, and his house in a single day, and ends up living on his lawn under the auspice of holding a yard sale.

So it’s probably not surprising to see that the attempt to market this to a wider audience plays up a lot of the physical comedy moments, no matter how small or not that funny, while also trying to pull some heartstrings by making Ferrell’s relationship with a neighborhood kid its centerpiece. That kid, by the way, is Christopher Jordan Wallace, son of Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G. (who most recently played his late dad in the biopic Notorious), something that is both cool and also makes us feel really old. Anyway, our own Noel Murray wasn’t particularly enamored with the film’s mix of boilerplate indie quirk and redemptive-arc earnestness when he saw it at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it’s probably easy to see what he was getting at just by watching this somewhat mushy preview. Still, just for the novelty of watching Ferrell hang out with a little Biggie, the trailer is worth a look.