When you think of Will Ferrell, what comes to mind? Undoubtedly, it’s one of the many comedic roles he’s occupied over the years. There’s no question he can tackle a comedy and make it his own. However, actors sometimes want to branch out and try something different. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Ferrell stars in the new independent drama Everything Must Go, now playing at Red River Theatres, and it definitely works.
Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, a Regional Vice President at a sales company whose life begins unraveling before his very eyes. First he’s fired from his job because of his alcoholism and when he gets home, he finds all his possessions on the front lawn. They were put there by his wife who has decided to leave him because of the aforementioned alcoholism and the belief that he’s having an affair. He then finds out that his bank cards no longer work and his cell phone service has been suspended (both the work of his wife). To say he’s having a bad day feels like a bit of an understatement.
Ferrell essentially shoulders this entire movie himself and does a phenomenal job. This isn’t his first crack at a dramatic role; back in 2006, he starred in Stranger Than Fiction, his first foray into dramatic territory. At the time, like many people, I was wary of Ferrell doing a film that was more dramatic but he pulled it off perfectly. It ended up being one of my favorite films. With Everything Must Go, Ferrell once again gives a performance that pulls the audience in because you to feel empathetic for his character. Even though a lot of his predicament is Nick’s own doing, you feel yourself wanting him to get better and figure things out.
He attempts to do this by having a yard sale for all the things his wife put on their front lawn. Soon afterwards he discovers the old adage that it’s only after you have nothing that you’re free to do anything. Pulling this off can be tricky because it can feel clichéd if not done properly. But director Dan Rush does so perfectly and it feels as though the character has had a true cathartic moment in his life. It’s the kind of film that makes you wonder if you could give up everything you own and just start over, press the reset button.
Everything Must Go is a fantastic film and Ferrell turns in some of his best work to date. Be sure to head up to Red River Theatres to check it out.