Land of the Lost
directed by Brad Silberling
(Universal, 2009)

Land of the Lost is awful. Land of the Lost is truly, truly bad. Land of the Lost is such a terrible experience that my wife and daughter have vowed not to let me pick another movie for at least the next decade. (My son, for the record, loved it.)

Sure, we all laughed a lot. And some bits were actually, legitimately funny, for a moment or two. But much of the laughter erupted through painfully clenched teeth or came out with a reptilian resolve that, hell, I paid for this movie and I'm going to have fun.

Land of the Lost is, of course, based on the television adventure series of the same name. The series is a fond memory of my younger days in the 1970s -- even though, in retrospect, it was really pretty awful, too -- when explorer Marshall, son Will and daughter Holly went over a waterfall and landed in dinosaur times. These days, Marshall (Will Ferrell) is far less resourceful and, let's be honest here, smart than his namesake, while Holly (Anna Friel) has gone from daughter to love interest (ick) and Will (Danny McBride) has transformed from teen-idol son to stoner redneck.

Suffice it to say that the old television series, with its juvenile plots, mediocre acting and embarrassing special effects, looks like high art compared to the film. Ferrell, who can sometimes mine comedy gold from questionable source material, relies largely on poop, pee and boob jokes -- as well as an overlong scene featuring stoned-age narcotics -- to get chuckles. Attempts at humor with the subhuman Cha-Ka and the slow-moving Sleestak are wasted.

Land of the Lost has oodles of potential, even as pure camp -- but the film is a huge disappointment. Brad Silberling, I want my money back.

review by
Tom Knapp

20 June 2009

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