In short: “Unfortunately, not even brilliant character actors and $100 million of set pieces and special effects can save an insipidly lazy, unimaginitive screenplay.“
When I first read about Land of the Lost getting a greenlight, I was thrilled. Who wouldn’t want to watch Will Ferrell and Pushing Daisies‘ delicious Anna Friel on a sci-fi adventure with dinosaurs, monkey-people, and sleestaks? Sounds like fun, right?
Unfortunately, not even brilliant character actors and $100 million of production can save an insipidly lazy, unimaginitive screenplay.
That might make me sound like a snob, but trust me, I’m no arthouse, indy-flick, mumblecore cinephile. I like to be entertained just like the rest of America. I welcome campy adventures, when they’re done right (Galaxy Quest being a prime example). But Henchy and McNicholas’ script is missing a few pivotal things, like real characters, say, or a real plot.
Instead, Land of the Lost is an endless string of one-liners and sight gags, some of which are, admittedly, pretty funny. But there’s no continuity to be found. You could watch this movie with the scenes in a completely random order, and it would lose nothing. Honestly.
It’s like the writers said: “We’ll just throw Will Ferrell into a bunch of random situations with bizarre creatures, and let him react to them.” Meanwhile, Friel’s talent is completely wasted. Her character seems to exist solely for her cleavage. And Danny McBride’s a funny guy (Tropic Thunder), but he isn’t given much to do, either.
I’m sure Land of the Lost will make a killing, based on Ferrell’s pull alone, and I’m sure plenty of people will be heartily entertained by it. The audience I watched it with certainly was. But the story is the narrative equivalent of surfing through funny YouTube videos. Mildly amusing, but ultimately thoughtless and without a heart. It’s the worst thing I’ve seen this year.
But at least Anna Friel’s getting some good exposure. She’s a keeper.