Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Movie Review: Between Two Ferns: The Movie

Between Two Ferns: The Movie *** ½ / *****
Directed by: Scott Aukerman.
Written by: Scott Aukerman and Zach Galifianakis.
Starring: Zach Galifianakis (Zach Galifianakis), Lauren Lapkus (Carol), Ryan Gaul (Cam), Jiavani Linayao (Boom Boom), Rekha Shankar (Gaya), Chance the Rapper, John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Dinklage, Will Ferrell, Ryan Gaul, Tiffany Haddish, Jon Hamm, Rashida Jones, Lauren Lapkus, Brie Larson, John Legend, David Letterman, Jiavani Linayao, Matthew McConaughey, Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzmanm Adam Scott, Hailee Steinfeld, Chrissy Teigen, Tessa Thompson.
There’s a difference between, say a Comedy Central Roast, and Between Two Ferns even if, at heart, both are just sitting their mocking celebrities. The difference is that basically in Between Two Ferns, the joke is always on host Zach Galifianakis for asking such hugely inappropriate questions in the first place – which is brought out by the fact that the celebrity guest always either has to sit there stone faced, or act offended by the questions, instead of having to play along. There is also that Galifianakis’ questions are usually more light hearted, and less crude.
How you turn the long running web series into a movie is a challenge. There is no story to the talk show – it’s just Galifianakis insulting celebrities, as both sit there and try not to burst out laughing (perhaps the best sequence of the movie is the end credits where they show up just how hard that is) – but for the most part, Between Two Ferns: The Movie walks that line quite well. True, what you will remember about the movie is those celebrity interviews – but the story grafted on top of it is also light and amusing – and has the same spirit – which is that Galifianakis is a clueless dolt – but a lovable one as he knows not what he does.
Basically, the film takes the talk show on the road – which was required when the studio flooded, and they have nowhere to film anymore. Will Ferrell gives Galifianakis two weeks to produce 10 episodes of his show, and deliver them to him in L.A. – and if he does so, he’ll fulfill Galifianakis’ dream of having a real network talk show (on the Lifetime Network) – because, as Galifianakis puts it, he’s a straight, white man and he deserves it. So he and his crew – producer Carol (a hilarious Laura Lapkus), camera man Cam (Ryan Gaul, who helpfully tells us his nickname is because his name is Cameron, not because he runs the camera) and sound woman Boom Boom (Jiavani Linayao – who has to turn down advances from all the male guests) hit the road, and find celebrities in strange places.
Yes, the celebrity interviews are the best part of the movie. For the most part, they pick the right guests as well – people like David Letterman and Paul Rudd are able to give back to Galifianakis as much as they take, Brie Larson and Tessa Thompson are able to act offended better than most and Benedict Cumberbatch and Jon Hamm confirm what good sports they are – but still pale in comparison to Peter Dinklage in that regard. The movie shows that there is still gas left in the tank in this format.
The connecting scenes are lightweight and funny. Truly, this isn’t a deep movie and doesn’t try to be. It isn’t really saying anything about anything – not even celebrity culture really. This really is a movie in which we watch famous people having fun being famous. The movie is smart enough to get in and out quickly (just 84 minutes) and never really lets things lag. It’s brisk, fun and entertaining – the perfect Netflix film, because you may feel a little ripped off if you paid money to see it in the theater, but sitting at home on your couch, the film is an immensely entertaining time waster – and knows precisely what it is, and doesn’t try to be anything else.

No comments:

Post a Comment