Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway Everything Must Go As a stand alone film with Raymond Carver touches, "Everything Must Go" does well. The film, based on the Carver story "Why Don't You Dance?" centers on an alcoholic advertising exec Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) who loses his high status job and camps out on his front lawn. Rather than follow the events of the story as is, the film does a capable job of capturing the spirit and tone of Carver. Ferrell is well meaning, hapless, and shell shocked as the overwhelmed Nick. And we can imagine Carver writing about him. Nick just sits like a blob.
The film lacks some of the stark eeriness of the original source material which is nearly impossible to duplicate, but with each new person Halsey meets there is a certain apprehension. And yes, there are some traditional Ferrell moments: Nick trips over the wall trying to get in his house. And when he slashes his boss's tire, he frustratingly cannot seem to take the knife out. This is almost a cartoon but just when we think Ferrell is going to let go and ape it up, he holds back and becomes monosyllabic and whispering---a shell of a himself. There is more yearning and desire in Ferrell's portrayal here than in the voyeur of the original story but there is much to contemplate within his disconnected eyes.
The direction by Dan Rush is appropriately detached for the most part. The camera lingers on each peice of soggy furniture. Every encounter has a germ of paranoia waiting to be expressed. Two Highlights are the actors Rebecca Hall and Christopher Jordan Wallace as the friends that Nick meets by chance and may or may not keep.
If "Everything Must Go" has faults, it is in its sentimental touches including a fortune cookie and a sunset. Raymond Carver was not sentimental in the slightest. But despite this error in judgment, the sight of Will Ferrell sitting in his deflated La-Z- Boy compliments Carver's brief, enigmatic story and gives it a double life.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org