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Finding a New Universe

Movie Title: Land of the Lost (2009)
Spoilers: No

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What does Land of the Lost sound like it's going to be about? If you had no idea that it was a comedy and that it had Will Ferrell in it, the title would make you think it was a science fiction piece from the 1950s where a traveling lot of short-haired men with military cuts and one or two pretty white women with long blond hair stumble into some dimensional portal to a secret universe and…get lost.

I can just see the exaggerated font of the oversized letters on posters in a cafĂ©: “Land of the Lost.” In all odds, the acting would be terrible by our standards, whether it fit the time period it was released in or not. “The Valley That Time Forgot,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” that’s how titles used to sound. ‘Twas an age of extravagant thinking that gave birth to the refined science fiction works of today.

Would that Land of the Lost, starring Will Ferrell, was some old, cheesy flying saucer movie from the fifties and not the floundering flop that it is. This one is a doozy, quite probably in the running for the worst films of 2009.

Will Ferrell is funny…or he can be funny. There are those who point to his few successful movies (“Old School,” “Anchorman,” and some would say “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”) and call him funny, while there are those (like yours truly) who call him funny, but point to “Semi-pro” and say that he never should have left SNL. I don’t think movies are his thing. What more can I say?

Get ready because Land of the Lost is way worse than Semi-pro and worse than…well, a lot! It was terrible—under-packed with good humor and over-packed with a stupid storyline that involves over-sexed monkey-boys, bathing in dinosaur pee, and dislodging t-rex intestinal blockages. And it has wars between aliens, which may pay tribute to those 1950s scifi stiffs we mentioned earlier, but the way things are done here, they’re a lot less interesting.

Will Ferrell is Dr. Rick Marshall, a discredited scientific researcher who is looking for a way to travel to alternate universes. Everyone is taking stabs at him—from Stephen Hawking to Matt Lauer. Losing faith in his own work, he runs into someone willing to face the music of ridicule to show her support for him. She is Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) and she believes Marshall is a genius.

And Dr. Marshall has to be a genius. After all, he not only invents a machine that opens up alternate realities in time and space, but the machine is waterproof and has a battery life of at least several days. And it has a built-in radio that always plays (I don’t know why, but it does!) On the way to test this new tachyon amplifier, they run into Will Stanton (Danny McBride), a Devil’s Cave tour guide. The three end up transported into a universe so odd that only Peewee Herman would fit right in.

The science fiction behind the story is much better than the humor in the story, though that’s not saying much. Not to disappoint comedy junkies who love to laugh at humor that should only appeal to Monster Truck Rally lovers and other degenerates, Land of the Lost offers hallucinating male-human-on-male-ape-man make-outs and ape-men that have a language with syntax and grammar that is understood, amazingly, by a human female from another dimension.

The idea of finding other universes to run around in is pretty cool. It would be fun, but right now, the only thing I can think about is finding a new universe to live in where Land of the Lost was never made.

(JH)

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Grade: D- (1 star)
Rated: PG-13
Summation: On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marshall is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant and a redneck survivalist.
Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: Will Ferrell "Dr. Rick Marshall," Anna Friel "Holly Cantrell," Danny McBride "Will Stanton," Jorma Taccone "Cha-Ka," John Boylan "Enik," Matt Lauer "Himself"
Genre: Comedy / Adventure / Scifi

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