June 7, 2009

Land Of The Lost (6/7/09)

Lettergrade: F

If I live to be a thousand, I will never understand what audience Land Of The Lost was made for. The film is marketed as a family adventure comedy. That description loosely fits, I guess, but the "adventure" is pretty intense in a Jurassic Park kind of way, and the "comedy" is geared toward Will Ferrell and Danny McBride's usual cliental, meaning that it includes a surprising number of drug and sex jokes. The "family" part kinda gets cancelled out by the other two, although neither the filmmakers nor the people at Universal who marketed this sucker seem to be aware of that.

I usually like those kinds of movies individually, but mixing them all together like this? The end result certainly isn't awful, but it's fair to say that it doesn't really work either. There are some pleasant laughs mixed in with the nifty sets and pretty photography, but most of it is just kind of "there," and then it's over. A budget of 150 million should really leave more of an impression.

Since it's Ferrell, I'm inclined to think of it as a comedy above all else. By that standard, the big problem is the jokes only work sporadically. Comedies are best when they feel a little cheap. The big exception I can think of is the first Ghostbusters, which might not have worked as well had Bill Murray not been around to roll his eyes and inject a smart-assed comment between expensive visual effects. Otherwise, they really lose a lot of the spontaneous levity that makes a comedy funny. When writing about Observe & Report a few weeks back, I wondered if Seth Rogen had already gotten into Adam Sandler territory, in terms of me not liking anything he makes anymore. I traced my Sandler shift back to 2000's Little Nicky, the first time Columbia gave him a big budget to work with after he had raked in a lot of bucks with cheapies like Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer. I would argue that no movie he's made since even remotely matched the quality of the earlier ones. There's a lesson there, I think.


  1. You know something I just found out recently is that Bill Murray's role in Ghostbusters was written for John Belushi and Murray only took the role after Belushi's death. I wonder what effect that would've had on the movie's outcome.

  2. Yeah, after the rottentomatoes rating of 28%, I opted to see THE HANGOVER last night instead, which was absolutely ridiculous, and absolutely hilarious.