Dan Rush’s indie drama, Everything Must Go, based on Raymond Parker’s short story Why Don’t You Dance? tells the story of Nick Porter (Will Ferell) a top salesman who has just lost his job after falling off the wagon one time too many. He returns home to find his wife has left him and that she has changed the locks to the house, as well as throwing all his belongings out into the front garden. Nick is forced to move on and try and build his life back together by selling all of his possessions.
Will Ferrell previously showed that he’s a very capable dramatic actor in 2006’s fantastic, Stranger Than Fiction, now in Everything Must Go we see him return to this type of role. Nick is an incredibly nice character that has just happened to have made some big mistakes – he’s a likeable guy that we want to see get his life back together and are rooting for from the start. He’s superbly portrayed by Ferrell, who is allowed to use light touches of comedy in this sweet drama.
This is far more a character drama than anything else: Nick forms relationships with a pregnant woman who’s moved in across the street (played by Rebecca Hall), an old school friend, Delilah (Laura Dern) and Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), a young boy who roams the streets whilst his mother works. The chemistry between Ferrell and these stars really carries the whole film, with some touching moments from Rush’s screenplay – one in particular where we see a glimmer of hope for Nick’s future when he visits Delilah. Nick’s gradual rebuilding of his life from encounters with these characters and the impact he has on their lives may sound like clichéd indie territory but Rush handles it with originality making a solid connection with the viewer.
Everything Must Go‘s strong indie feel ranges from its music choices to Rush’s directing style, this really works to its advantage as its completely convincing and grounded in realism. It’s ultimately engaging through its interesting albeit sad narrative but unfortunately looses strength towards the end feeling slightly drawn out and slow paced. Whilst it’s enjoyable, Everything Must Go is not hugely memorable, being the sort of film you’d watch once but have little interest in seeing a second time.
Those willing to give it a chance may be pleasantly surprised – this is not typical Will Ferrell (which may put some off) but he shows he’s an incredibly capable and convincing dramatic lead in this sometimes touching albeit slightly dull indie drama.
Reviewer: Andrew McArthur
Rated: 12 (UK)
Release Date: 14th October, 2011(cinema), 30th October,2011 (DVD & Blu Ray)
Director: Dan Rush
Cast: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena, Laura Dern and Christopher Jordan Wallace