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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Everything Must Go

September 6th, 2011

Everything Must Go - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Like many comedians before him, Will Ferrell has begun to try his hand at drama. He did earn praise for his performance in Stranger Than Fiction, but the film wasn't exactly a box office hit. Everything Must Go earned slightly better reviews, but opened in just over 200 theaters and struggled to find an audience. Granted, many films struggle when they open in "Select Cities", but it is always disappointing when a film's box office numbers are so much weaker than its critical success. Will it be able to turn things around on the home market? Or is Will Ferrell's appeal in drama just too limited.

The Movie

Will Ferrell plays Nick Proter, a man who has been dealing with alcoholism for more than a decade. He's kept his drinking mostly under control the last few years, but had a recent relapse while on a business trip. With his lengthy record of alcohol related incidents, his company sees not other option but to finally let him go. And that's just the beginning of his really bad day. When he gets home, he finds all his stuff on the lawn. At this point, sobriety is no longer an option. Also, since his wife put a hold on their bank account and canceled his credit card, moving his stuff somewhere safe and getting a hotel room isn't going to happen either. The only thing left to do is drink beer on his front yard.

Turns out this is illegal. (It's public drunkenness.) Fortunately, Nick has a friend on the police force, Detective Frank Garcia, who also happens to be his sponsor. It's a bit of an awkward conversation, but Frank agrees to keep the police off his back that night. While the following morning, he tells Nick to set up fake Yard Sale, which buys him three more days before the police will force him to leave. He gets some help from a neighborhood kid, Kenny, starts talking to his new neighbor, Samantha, and slowly comes to grips with his situation while experiencing a few ups and downs along the way.

Everything Must Go is based on a short story that is only 1600 words long, so there's quite a bit added here and some of it could be called padding, if you are not a fan of the film. If you are a fan, you would call it deliberately paced with plenty of time to contemplate the character development. I'm the in latter camp. In most of his movies, Will Ferrell's acting style can be described as, 'grown man running around screaming'. I don't think I've ever seen him more restrained in a a film, and it completely works. It certainly fits with the mood of the film. His interactions with Christopher Jordan Wallace are one of the highlights of the film and they have a very naturalistic feel to them. Will Ferrell also has good chemistry with Rebecca Hall, his new neighbor. I was very impressed with rest of the cast first time writer / director Dan Rush was able to assemble. Michael Peña had an important supporting role, Laura Dern and Stephen Root show up as well.

Granted, in addition to moving rather slowly, the film doesn't break a lot of new ground, but it is still emotionally effective and the characters will draw you into the simple story.

The Extras

The extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track with the director, Dan Rush, and actor, Michael Peña. It's not super energetic, but the pair have a really good chemistry together and there and plenty of fun anecdotes. Next up is an interview featurette with Will Ferrell who talks about the character and how it is a departure for him. There's an making of featurette with interviews from much of the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie. And finally, there are five deleted / extended scenes. That's a good selection of extras for a limited release.

I don't have the Blu-ray to judge technical presentation, but there are no exclusive extras on the disc. The Blu-ray costs just $3 more than the DVD, at least on Amazon.com, which is a good deal for this type of film.

The Verdict

Everything Must Go is a departure for Will Ferrell and it is a bit of a risk, but it paid off. It is certainly worth checking out and it is worth buying over just renting. The Blu-ray doesn't have any additional extras over the DVD, but it is a reasonable price and the better deal.


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