Everything Must Go
Ends tonight (Aug. 25). Based on a Raymond Carver short story in which a male suburbanite puts his possessions up for sale in his own front yard, this low-key, absurdist comedy sprawls out on the big screen as a darkly comic nightmare for the downsized middle class. Writer-director Dan Rush softens the bleak, suburban malaise of the original by adding audience-friendly takes on alcoholism, modern marriage, corporate downsizing, and the art of salesmanship, and the onscreen results might be termed a self-deflating, semi-depressed feel-good flick. Will Ferrell’s dull, deadpan gaze proves adequate for the cluelessness and denial of the central character—a hotshot sales exec who’s an alcoholic and has lost his job, his wife, his house and his bank account. And there’s some charmingly ironic byplay between him and a neighbor kid (Christopher Wallace) who becomes his temporary partner and sidekick in front-yard salesmanship. But Ferrell’s character and the movie itself come nearest to sharp liveliness in his scenes with an alcoholic policeman (Michael Peña), a newly arrived neighbor (an excellent Rebecca Hall) and an almost-girlfriend from high school days (Laura Dern). Pageant Theatre. Rated R —J.C.S.