A comedy team is found

Will Ferrell and Danny McBride create a formidable duo

Land of the Lost
Starring Will Ferrell, Danny McBride and Anna Friel. Directed by Brad Silberling. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0

Some movies just look like they’re going to be bad. Take Land of the Lost: great cast, with funnymen Will Ferrell and Danny McBride, but silly-looking concept. To be honest, this one looked like it was maybe worth a rental. Much to my surprise, virtually unknown director Brad Silberling pulls it off, complete with fake dinosaurs, Sleestaks and monkey people.

The television show the movie is based on aired in the 1970s, before my time, but for those familiar with it, much has been changed for this theatrical release. Ferrell plays Dr. Rick Marshall, but instead of finding himself in the “land of the lost” with his two kids, Holly and Will, those two characters come in the form of a collegiate admirer of Rick, Holly (Anna Friel), and a redneck amusement-park operator, Will (McBride).

It seems Rick has created a device that can send people into a parallel dimension, but after being publicly humiliated by TV’s Matt Lauer, he buries his head in the sand and takes a job at the La Brea Tar Pits museum in Los Angeles. The spunky, cute, British Holly shows up to renew his faith in himself, and they find themselves on a creepy cave water ride led by Will. Apparently his little spot in the universe is the portal into the Land of the Lost.

Once in this alternate dimension, the three encounter all manner of things, from primitive humans to T-rexes to the Sleestak lizard people. Their primary mission turns out to be to find the contraption that got them there in the first place so they can get out (ironic, yes?).

Here’s the thing: It is silly. But the interaction between Ferrell and McBride makes up for almost anything that’s too stupid or ridiculous to imagine. Friel, while mostly unspectacular, creates a sort of buffer of seriousness between Ferrell, with his trademark deadpan humor, and McBride, the new hick comedian on the street. To round out the foursome is Cha-Ka, a local ape-man, who speaks a primitive language Friel seems to understand.

Land of the Lost may not quite reach the bar Ferrell has set for himself with movies like Old School and Anchorman, but it certainly is fun, and far exceeded this reviewer’s expectations.