Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reel Thoughts: Lost and Delirious

Land of the Lost opportunities is more like it. The original Land of the Lost was a TV show filled with iconic silliness that still managed to scare me as a kid. Marshall, Will and Holly went over a ridiculous waterfall in a rubber raft only to end up in a world where their only friend was a hairy ape-boy named Chaka and they were terrorized by dinosaurs and slimy lizard men called Sleestaks. The new Will Farrell oddity is better than his ravaging of Bewitched only because the source material is so much lamer to begin with, so he can't really "ruin" it. The best part of the film is Anna Friel from Pushing Daisies, who plays Holly with her native British accent.

Farrell plays Dr. Rick Marshall in what I like to call his "kinda floundering" mode, basically boring and deadpan with a 30 percent chance of humor. Marshall has almost created a machine by which he can enter alternate realities and somehow solve the energy crisis. He is laughed off of the Today Show, and his career is as dead as the LaBrea Tar Pits (where he works) until grad student Holly Cantrell shows up bearing a fossil with his lighter imprinted in it. The two head out to a sleazy tourist trap run by Danny McBride (Pineapple Express) and the three find themselves sucked into a time warp that deposits them in a parallel universe full of odd creatures and various items from our world strewn about.

There they meet Chaka (Jorma Taccone) and the dreaded Sleestaks (who are never called by name), as well as a strangely intelligent T-Rex, but mostly the film putters around with whatever struck Farrell as hilarious. You can count on anything funny (A Chorus Line references, a bad drug trip, etc.) being beaten to death, but then the Land of the Lost references get shortchanged. The film feels like 20 minutes of material filling almost two hours of screen time. The Sleestaks look great but don't get much to do, and Chaka is more annoying than anything else (kind of like he was in the real show).

I guess Land of the Lost fulfills the old computer adage "GIGO": garbage in, garbage out. In the summer movie contest, you can bet that this land will be Lost.

UPDATE: Land of the Lost is now available on DVD and Blu-rayfrom

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.


  1. My partner and I just saw this last night. I needed something mindless after weeks of watching serious indie film fest contenders. It did the trick. We both found it silly, which we knew it would be, but completely enjoyable despite Will Ferrell's schtick going on way too long.

  2. Marshall Will and HollyJune 15, 2009 at 11:39 PM

    Oh, believe me, I wanted to like the thing! I was seeing it for free and taking my niece for a fun night out, and the theater was a gorgeous mock movie palace next to Boston Common, but alas, all the good will in the world couldn't get the stale taste out of my mouth of all the shtick, all of which went on waaaaaaaaaaay past its sell-by date!

    I laughed at bits, but the sum of its parts was a big black comedy hole. LOL


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