It was always true. John Wayne only played one role. No matter what movie you went to see, you saw John Wayne play John Wayne. He was larger than life. And that larger than life aspect made us go and see him.
Will Ferrell is in the same mode. No matter what movie you go to see, you see Will Ferrell play the same role. He plays Will Ferrell. The problem is that Will Ferrell is not larger than life. And this is making his movies all look the same and becoming tiresome.
“Land of the Lost” has Will Ferrell playing Dr. Rick Marshall. This is a film adaptation of the children’s television series done by Sid and Marty Krofft. It was a cheesy show and the movie attempts to capture some of that cheese. The problem is the movie is not bad enough to be good. It is just bad.
Ferrell’s character is a discredited scientist that creates a device that allows the users to go through pockets in time. Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) meets Ferrell’s Dr. Marshall and they go off to prove that his theories are true. They meet up with Will Stanton (Danny McBride), a redneck goober that runs one of those roadside attractions that you know is a ripoff from the signs on the highway. Off they go into a fold in time and end up in the Land of the Lost, an alternate universe lost in time.
They meet up with Cha-Ka (Jorma Taccone), a missing-link type being and spend the movie attempting to go back to where they came. The plot includes interaction with a race of beings called Sleestaks and an overlord type named Enik (John Boylan). And this about it.
With a plot this thin, it depends highly on star power. Will Ferrell did have that power. Back when he made ”Anchorman,” this type of character – an overconfident, undereducated boob – was fresh and funny. But now, after six features with his name above the marquee, the character has grown old and stale.
As to the movie, there are aspects of it that need comment. This movie is based on a children’s television show, but it is crude, rude and vulgar. It includes use of language not fitting the source material. There is drug use and innuendo. Because of the source material, all of this is off putting.
The Kroffts are producers of this mess of a movie. It would have been nice of them to insist that the movie reflect more the audience that the show was aimed to in the original run. Add to this the rerunning of the TV show for audiences to discover again, and it makes a stronger point that the movie is too vulgar and not in good taste.
All and all, what this movie does is make a clear point. Ferrell needs to find a new type of role. His is a Brylcreem shtick: a little dab will do ya. “Land of the Lost” is a big heap of it and it is not good and it is not fun.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and for language including a drug reference.
Director: Brad Silberling
Writers: Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas (based on the television series by Sid and Marty Krofft)
Cast: Will Ferrell: Dr. Rick Marshall; Anna Friel: Holly Cantrell; Danny McBride: Will Stanton; Jorma Taccone: Cha-Ka; John Boylan: Enik; Matt Lauer: Himself.
The movie’s official Web site is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.