Everything Must Go review (DVD)

Like Jim Carrey, Ferrell is best known for his comedy but actually more memorable and likely to deliver a satisfying performance in the realm of drama. Having already proven this in the underrated Stranger Than Fiction, Ferrell again shows his acting chops in this melancholic but humorous adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story.

Nick Halsey (Ferrell) is a successful salesman whose career is dogged by a series of drink-related incidents which reach breaking point for his boss when a colleague Nick is alleged to have slept with files a lawsuit against the company. Nick is summarily fired and gets home to find out that his wife has moved out, changed the locks and dumped all of his possessions on the front lawn. Policeman friend and AA sponsor Frank (Peña) lets him know that the only way he can legally live on his own property is to hold a yard sale for a maximum of five days.

Although not a comedy in the sense that Will Ferrell's typical fanbase would envisage, this is nevertheless consistently amusing throughout. As well as a smattering of his usual physical comedy, Ferrell shows he can do subtlety too. It also helps that debut writer-director Dan Rush's script is sharp and that the supporting cast is excellent. Rebecca Hall puts in another fine performance, here as Nick's neighbour Samantha, while youngster CJ Wallace underplays local boy Kenny in forming an unlikely friendship and business partnership with the troubled alcoholic.

By primarily going for laughs, the seriousness of Nick's plight is somewhat diluted but there are enough moments of melancholy to ensure this isn't simply an exercise in frivolity. Alternately desperate, caring, lonely, funny and weighed down by his own faults, Nick is a sympathetic character despite everything and Ferrell is largely responsible for this. So despite the sadness, there's a warmth to Everything Must Go which makes the film thoroughly enjoyable and makes director Rush one to watch.

EXTRAS Just the trailer

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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