June 4th, 2009 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

In Search of Lost Time: Land of the Lost Reviewed

Screened after WW press deadlines, Land of the Lost would have been better served not to screen at all. Short take: Go see The Hangover instead. Long take: below.

Film Title: Land of the Lost

Land of the Lost

It doesn't take access to any “quantum paleontology” time-travel devices to predict that Land of the Lost will be the flop of the summer. The refitting of Sid and Marty Krofft's dopey television series as a $100 million Will Ferrell vehicle is a fiasco: so dismal that it appears the wrangled comedians surrendered hope early in production. The source material was never valuable—it was cheapo kiddie programming with a child in a monkey suit playing the role of Lassie—but it had certain WTF attributes, what with the cheerful actors, the rubber lizard-people and the T-Rex puppets. The movie also raises questions: What the fuck was director Brad Silberling thinking? Who the fuck hired this guy? How the fuck does Universal Pictures expect to get its money back?



The setup is perfunctory, half-hearted, racing as fast as it can to get to the product placement (Arby's and Subway, both used as examples of stress-induced gluttony). Ferrell and Pushing Daisies actress Anna Friel are thrown together and shoved onto a yellow raft, where they test out some jerryrigged time-warping hardware inside Danny McBride's tourist-trap Mystery Cave, which bears a mild similarity to the sets of From Dusk Till Dawn. The trio is swept into an alternate reality—and here I must ask if you are as tired as alternate realities this summer as I am, because I am bone tired—where they encounter a CGI Tyrannosaurus and missing link Chaka (Jorma Taccone), the monkey-boy who has grown up enough from his TV days to grope women's breasts. In the land of Will Ferrell, this should be cause for celebration: Chaka has become a man!

I don't want to make Land of the Lost sound like a bad-taste frat rager. It is much worse. A giant tick plunges into Ferrell's neck and sucks blood until he passes out and crushes it in a puddle of plasma. McBride is slathered in digital prehistoric goo. Ferrell douses himself in a tank of dinosaur urine. The budget has been lavished on art design (the parallel universe looks a lot like Salvation Mountain) and nothing was left over for the script. When the money runs out the stars stand around, bereft of special effects and inspiration, attempting improv. Land of the Lost is the most expensive Funny or Die video ever made; the death option does not seem to have been given due consideration.

The movie's first half is so senselessly cruel—not just to an unlucky ice-cream man whose truck plops into raptor feeding grounds, but to any audience member who hasn't always dreamed of exchanging feeble jokes with Sleestaks—that its final 30 minutes seem almost tolerable by comparison. (A yacht-rock desert resort interlude is enjoyably psychedelic, and lets McBride restock the redneck charisma he's otherwise drained of.) “When you speak of this in the future, and you will,” Ferrell pleads at the conclusion, “be gentle.” Weirdly, this line makes Land of the Lost the second stupid summer movie—after Angels & Demons—to quote from Tea and Sympathy. In this case, it's in reference to Will Ferrell being pooped out of a dinosaur. Perhaps it is kindest not to speak of this at all. Let's just forget this whole movie ever happened. PG-13. AARON MESH.

Land of the Lost opens Friday at Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99 Stadium 11, Cinemas Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 IMAX, Cinetopia, City Center Stadium 12, Cornelius 9 Cinemas, Division Street Stadium 13, Evergreen Parkway Stadium 13, Hilltop 9 Cinema, Lloyd Center Stadium 10 Cinema, Lloyd Mall 8 Cinema, Movies On TV Stadium 16, Oak Grove 8 Cinemas, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Sandy Cinemas, Sherwood Stadium 10, Tigard 11 Cinemas and Wilsonville Stadium 9 Cinema.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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