Movie Review #759
Directed by Brad Silberling. Written by Chris Henchy & Dennis McNicholas. (Television series: Sid Krofft & Marty Krofft.) Produced by Marty Krofft, Sid Krofft, and Jimmy Miller for Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures and Mosaic, presented by Universal Pictures, in association with Relativity Media. Starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone, John Boylan, and Matt Lauer. Cameo: the voice of Leonard Nimoy as the Zarn. Distributed by Universal Studios and Universal Pictures in wide release on June 5, 2009. Rated PG-13: crude and sexual content, and for language including a drug reference. (Original cut rated R.) Runs 102 minutes.
I am just about convinced that if I had to pick out my favorite comedian, I’d go with Will Ferrell. Say what you must, but Ferrell is a man who can’t make a bad comedy without making it entertaining. In other words, it’s impossible for this guy to make a movie that is honest-to-god bereft of laughter. Ferrell’s “good movies” are quality humor. They make sense. They’re dumb, but that’s Will Ferrell’s natural humor. His “bad movies” are proudly and triumphantly idiotic. They often fail to make sense, but we all know, of course, that this is on purpose. The plots are one-joke and very, very corny. And yet these “bad movies” of his are nonetheless funny. Considering how much more unbearable a bad comedy is than a bad drama, it’s quite impressive how enjoyable a bad Ferrell comedy is.
I’m convinced that “Land of the Lost” is one of the worst films Ferrell has ever made and ever will make, so in a sense, it’s also one of the best films he has made and will ever make. It’s a parody of that show Land of the Lost from the 1970’s, which was aimed at kids. This spoof spotlights what might be technically called “adult humor,” though aptly enough, the mentality is childlike.
Our story begins with a paleontologist named Rick Marshall (Ferrell) who has just published a book. It’s featured on The Today Show, and Matt Lauer hates it. Matt Lauer also can’t stand Will Ferrell’s character. Anyway, his book seems like B.S. to us, and apparently it does to Dr. Marshall, as well. Until…one of his biggest fans proves to him that he’s actually correct in his research. Just to give you more insight on this guy, he believes that the key to joining the past, present, and future as one single molecular phenomenon, and proving that virtually everything in paleontologist is awesome and inspiring and pretty (and witty and bright), is time warps. Now I don’t know about you, but none of that makes sense to me, and I’m not even sure I’m reiterating it right, but the key word is “time warps.” It’s the be all and end all for Will Ferrell’s character, and it’s why this movie continuously reminded me of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. For some bizarre-ass reason, there’s a lot of showtunes in “Land of the Lost”.
So they go to a cave that seems more like a tourist trap/theme park-type thing. Interestingly enough, the owner has plans to invest in an estate with all the money he’s earned from this tourist trap. Has he really earned everything a single dime from it? The place seems pretty empty and in the middle of nowhere. Anyhow, through the cave the paleontologist, his follower, and the owner of the cave thing discover a time warp and are transported to prehistoric times.
The jokes are pretty middle-schoolish, and although I’m ashamed to admit it, god are they funny. I think this epitomizes when the gang meets a Tyrannosaurus rex. It’s constantly pissed off at Ferrell, because he keeps making fun of the dinosaur for having a brain the size of a walnut. (I know very, very little about dinosaurs, but I do know that this is a fallacy. Ferrell’s character is an idiot, as you might have guessed, and he’s continuously confusing the T. rex with the Triceratops.) Eventually, the creature decides to throw a gigantic walnut at Ferrell. Ferrell is seen cowering because apparently the dinosaur is smarter than he thought, or maybe because he has just learned of the huge variety that walnuts come in. Stupid, but funny. That’s basically all there is to it. “Land of the Lost” has the creative mind of a ten-year-old, but there’s as much laughter as CGI. ✴
– Alexander Diminiano