Everything Must Go - DVD Review

'there's no edginess and nothing unexpected comes along but, then again, there's no scenes of people vomiting through neighbour's letterboxes either'

Stranger Than Fiction, a fairly unique, quirky, little indie comedy, is still Will Ferrell's best film. In it, he plays a human character (rather than a gross parody of a shambling stereotype) with a lot of heart, plying a gentle brand of comedy which is much more effective than the 'balls out' humour of most of his other films, good though some of them are.

Everything Must Go is short on several of the elements that made Stranger Than Fiction great but Dan Rush's film is still very much cut from a similar cloth. Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, an alcoholic sales manager who becomes an alcoholic ex-sales manager within the film's opening moments. Returning home to find that his wife has also left him, emptying his possessions on to the lawn, Nick settles down, opens a beer and sets about getting drunk. In any other Ferrell film, the next actions would see him running naked through the neighbourhood, causing all sorts of bawdily-directed mayhem. In Everything Must Go, he falls asleep and is woken up the next morning by the garden sprinkler.

This less-than-gentle awakening is the metaphorical precursor to what will quite obviously come to unfold in other areas of Nick's life. There's some very generous support from new friends Samantha (Rebecca Hall) and Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace) and an odd sidestep that doesn't go anywhere with Delilah (Laura Dern). Rush's self-penned script, based on a Raymond Carver short story, features lots of little moments of heart and gentle humour but lacks the innovation and drive of the very best indie dramas.

Still, watching Ferrell work incredibly hard at making the audience love a sometimes unlikeable character is a joy and Rebecca Hall is radiant. There's no edginess and nothing unexpected comes along but, then again, there's no scenes of people vomiting through neighbour's letterboxes either. I'll take ten of these over ten carbon copies of Step Brothers any day of the week.

Look further...

'director Dan Rush underplays it a little too much, pushing an awkward Indie Movie vibe to avoid the cliched Hollywood ‘bad man becomes good influence’ trope' - Front Row Reviews, 3/5


  1. After a first watch of this, I couldn't agree with your review more. This never has either the innovation of Stranger Than Fiction, nor does it ever have the gusto to travel far enough down some of the avenues presented, but there's also a huge amount here to like. I also felt like this wouldn't be the engaging film it is without Ferrell in the lead. Performances like the one he gives here suggests that Ferrell could very satisfyingly move onto regularly taking on roles of this ilk when he gets tired of doing stupid comedies.

    1. The equivalent of Clint's move from Action romps to more thoughtful things, with some Action inflection? Having said that, I had to get on to this review and read a few lines before I remembered much about the film. Good but (clearly) a bit forgettable.