I can just see the producers six months ago:
Hey Mitch, we’re doing a new Will Ferrell movie.
Does he play a burned out hippie who finally has to get a real job in the 70s?
What about a lion tamer at a zoo who gets fired and has to start his own circus in the 70s?
I’ve got it. He plays a NASA janitor who gets elected to go to the moon with a dog on a suicide mission but it turns out he’s more capable than we all thought in the 70s.
No. We’re taking a break on the 70s movies.
No 70s? What time period are we gonna put him in?
Uh…we just wrote down “T-Rex and some aliens” on this post-it.
Oh that’s rich.
Land of the Lost takes Will Ferrell to a new dimension, one outside of time, space, and humor. He plays a “brilliant?” scientist who creates a machine that opens time warps to a weird planet with cavemen, dinosaurs, aliens and very little class. Dragged with him are an attractive British scientist who’s naturally in love with him (Anna Friel) and a trailer trash funhouse tour guide (Danny McBride) who unwittingly gets flushed down the rabbit hole with them. It’s the teenage male entertainment fantasy: a hot girl and a loyal moron.
Film producers seem hell-bent on proving that Will Ferrell can be funny any time, any place. It’s true. I think we pretty much knew it was true after Anchorman but before Semi-Pro, Blades of Glory, and Elf. With Land of the Lost they got a little carried away by the desert winds of “any time, any place” and lost sight of Ferrell back by the quicksand. For the brief moments where he gets to take the reins, he’s likable but looks bound by the absurd plot. A mysterious narcotic fruit binge should provide a solid 5 minutes of Ferrell rubbing his chest and talking to rocks but instead it shows two men spooning with an ape. It’s insulting to his solo ability, crass, easy, and disappointing.
I could go on and on about the wasted opportunities to salvage this mess but I think just one more will do. He gets a run wild standup opportunity that gets flushed down the toilet because he’s literally pouring dinosaur urine on his head and in his mouth. Dave Chappelle pulled it off years ago in a sketch as R. Kelly, who was deserving of it at the time, but again? With Will Ferrell as a kooky scientist from a kid’s show? Urine gags? Even if it is aimed at 12 year olds, do we really have no respect for our 12 year olds? My advice to producers: put him with his friends, tear up the script, give him a glass of scotch, and bring a lot of film.
As long as his career doesn’t stay in the land of the lost, I think we can all quickly forget this monstrosity.