Will Ferrell: Funny or Finished?

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After investing the better part of a quarter billion dollars into the effort, Will Ferrell’s new film, Land of the Lost, opened to sparsely populated theaters and sneering critics, netting less than twenty million over its first weekend. Everyone has a flop once in a while, but this makes about four in a row for the star of Anchorman which were either limp at the box office or flat out flops.

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly seems to agree.

Anyone who’s honest with themselves has to admit that Ferrell hasn’t been all that funny for a while. Did you see his one-man George W. Bush show on HBO? Just painful. It was like watching someone shoot fish in a barrel for an hour and change. Step Brothers? Semi Pro? The dude’s been coasting for a while now. And the less said about The Producers and Bewitched, the better.

Land of the Lost is just the latest proof that Ferrell’s shtick — the clueless, self-deprecating blowhard man-child — is growing stale. You can put him in a NASCAR jumpsuit, a basketball uniform, or a quantum paleontologist’s khakis, but he’s pretty much always the same guy. You know that at some point he’ll take off his shirt and reveal his flabby belly, or dump dinosaur urine on his head, and then mug at the camera as if to say, Ain’t it hilarious? Well, yes it was…the first time.

Ferrell could still turn this thing around. Many prominent actors have taken a dive and later resurrected their careers, sometimes taking them in entirely new directions. One great example is John Travolta who enjoyed early success as a goofball comic and dancing figure. Largely lampooned and treated as something of a joke, Travolta dropped off the radar for quite a while, only to reemerge later as a consumate bad guy in a number of films.

Ferrel is no spring chicken, but he could do something similar. Or, failing that, he could just fire his agent and start picking a few better scripts.

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  • willnot

    Finished. Never thought he was funny at all. I had met him in Hollywood and he treated me like sh*t. Way to go will, treating your fans as if they don't exist. They are your bread and butter you know! Hope his downward spiral continues.

  • http://maineview.blogspot.com TheMaineView

    Anyone else seen Melinda Melinda? Great film. Ferrell was brilliant. For once he wasn't playing yet another version of “Frank the Tank”. He really nailed it, even if it was an impression of Woody Allen.

    To recall that film after watching Step Brothers almost makes me sick. I just keep telling myself he is doing this s**t to build up capital. Then we will see some really worthwhile comedy…At least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself.

  • tryaches

    He was really good in “Stranger Than Fiction”. I thought that the film itself was wonderful, too, but I suppose that no one could call it a “hit”.

  • http://maineview.blogspot.com TheMaineView

    I bought that one. It was nice and quirky. Kinda had a little Douglas Adams thing with the narration.