Screenwriters: Chris Henchy, Dennis McNicholas
Starring:Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone, John Boylan, Matt Lauer
Running time: 101 mins
Who else but Will Ferrell could fit into a parallel universe governed by completely random events? In the past his ability to pull laughs out of nowhere and spout an endless stream of chucklesome non-sequiturs has gotten him out of many a scrape and yet in Land Of The Lost (based on a popular US TV show from the '70s) even the genius of Ferrell is dwarfed into insignificance. Every time he comes close to hitting his stride, he's swooped upon by dinosaurs or creepy lizard men that look as if they were salvaged from the set of a 1950s creature feature and then, to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, there's the running and screaming... And yawning.
Actually, this is a film that might've benefited from Goldblum's dry sense of humour. Certainly his weirdness wouldn't be out of place in a land where dinosaurs roam alongside stray ice-cream trucks. Instead, Ferrell looks weary doing his usual bumbling routine as mad scientist Dr Rick Marshall accompanied through time and space by Danny McBride as spaced-out slob Will Stanton and - going even further down the evolutionary scale - newcomer Jorma Taccone as some kind of drooling monkey-boy, Cha-Ka. He's saved from certain death by Marshall's research assistant Holly (Anna Friel doing the twitchy button nose and quizzical pout) after she follows Marshall through the cosmic portal and inadvertently drags Will along for the ride.
Like a valley of sedimentary rock, the film is comprised of layer upon crumbling layer of dumbness. The primary mission is to get home, but you know you're in trouble when Will Ferrell is the brains of the outfit. He leads Holly, Will and Cha-Ka through desert and rocky mountains (bearing an uncanny resemblance to Nevada) into tropical jungles and what looks like a bad '70s music video where a bloke in a lizard suit tells Marshall that he is The Chosen One. Apparently, the doc's revolutionary theory of time travel has led him to this place in order to save the universe. Or something... There really isn't much of a story, just a series of lavishly tacky sets where the foursome grapple with other blokes in rubbish rubber suits and CG dinosaurs.
Admittedly there are some funny moments. Most of these are down to Ferrell trying to reconcile his cowardly inner child with the role of heroic leader; at one point freezing a T-Rex in its tracks with a nitrogen-loaded catapult. Unfortunately, the funniest scene is the opener where Dr Marshall has a hissy fit after his theories are publicly scorned on a daytime chatshow. It's pretty much downhill from there. Apparently McBride was hired for his expert delivery of knob jokes, which might be vaguely amusing at times, but definitely inappropriate for what's meant to be family entertainment.
It isn't just the tone that is fatally misjudged by director Brad Silberling. Like his 2004 fantasy adventure Lemony Snicket's Events the story is incoherent, made up of self-consciously wacky episodes that bump into each other and yet fail to gain any momentum. Silberling (who promised so much with his 2002 comedy drama Moonlight Mile) appears, very wilfully, to have lost touch with reality. There's only so much one man can do to carry that burden and even though he is the legendary Anchorman, Ferrell struggles to hold it together amid so much chaos.
> What do you think of the movie? Share your views