Everything Must Go: Will Ferrell Is Down and Out, and His Life Is for SaleLife for Sale

Greatly expanded from a four-page, single-situation story by Raymond Carver, Dan Rush's first feature Everything Must Go is an ambitious if enervated vehicle for Will Ferrell — playing it straight as Nick Halsey, a middle-class drunk fired from his job and locked out of his suburban home by an irate, never-seen spouse on the same day.

As in the Carver story, Halsey uses the belongings his wife has dumped outside to set up house on the front lawn. His public humiliation, complete with repossessed company car and suspended bank account, is barely mitigated by the police detective (Michael Peña) who happens to be his AA sponsor and allows him a five-day grace period in which to operate an impromptu, highly metaphoric, yard sale — compelled to re-evaluate his past in the light of a cataclysmic present.

An ungainly presence who occupies far too much space, cultural and otherwise, Ferrell is one of the least sympathetic personalities in movies. To his credit, he makes almost no attempt here to woo the audience, although his self-pitying lug, usually seen parked outside in his Barcalounger, brewski in paw, eventually extracts a modicum of sympathy just by being there. Also by hitting bottom: outta money, outta beer, reduced to panhandling outside the mini-mart.

Sitting not-so-pretty: Will Ferrell is going nowhere in Everything Must Go.
Sitting not-so-pretty: Will Ferrell is going nowhere in Everything Must Go.

Details

Written and directed by Dan Rush. Based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Starring Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Laura Dern, and Michael Peña. Rated R.

Related Stories

More About

Rush has a background in commercials, but the rootsy soundtrack (Lightnin' Hopkins, Ramblin' Jack, Odetta, The Band) doesn't succeed in selling the movie as an American ballad. Everything Must Go, which is ostensibly set in Scottsdale, has a generic resemblance to broken-heartland movies like Up in the Air and Cedar Rapids, although this suburban meltdown is more depressed than either. Such warmth as it exists is generated by Halsey's two new friends, a lonely little boy (14-year-old Christopher Jordan Wallace, son of the Notorious B.I.G.) and the pregnant, quasi-abandoned young wife across the street (Rebecca Hall), as well as the high school classmate he's inspired to look up (Laura Dern, who brightens the movie instantly if briefly).

In the final reel, Rush introduces a plot complication that, had the preceding hour been leaner, might have worked — kind of like the Titanic sinking to reveal an iceberg. Still, I can't dismiss the desperate social realism of a movie offering the solace of a bromide found in a fortune cookie.

 
My Voice Nation Help
7 comments
Noah
Noah

I owned a condo on Thomas/56th street and the scene where he turns the corner on the bicycle is definitely 56th street. Even living there after 4 years it never got old looking North on 56th street and seeing it go up the mountain.

I'm trying to find out what the restaurant was where they ate outdoors and it had a lot of lights? That one stumped me...anybody know?

Spot
Spot

The restaurant is Aunt Chiladas, just off the 51 and north of Glendale Ave.

Blah
Blah

This film was shot almost entirely in the Arcadia district, not in Scottsdale. They shot a few scenes in Scottsdale, along with using Scottsdale Police's cars, and uniforms. In the film, there is mention that the "City of Arcadia" has rules against living in your front yard. Not a bad flick, and the shots of the valley are worth the price of admission.

John
John

"ostensibly set in Scottsdale"

Everything Must Go was filmed, on location, in Scottsdale. The film's plot is set in Scottsdale as well. There's no reason for the "ostensibly."

helentroy4
helentroy4

This is what happens when the movie reviewer is one guy reviewing for all the Village Voice/New Times syndicate.

I have been hoping to read here somewhere, where exactly the film was shot. I thought maybe in the Arcadia area. I just can't place the street.

tkaz
tkaz

I don't know the streets but it was on the Phoenix side of the Arcadia district, technically not in Scottsdale. My spouse who travels the Phoenix Metro areas for work knows the grid system almost without fail says it's near 56th Street.

 

Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Powered By VOICE Places

Around The Web

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!

Loading...