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Movie Review

Everything Must Go

MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.

Reviewed by: Benjamin Lane
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Comedy Drama
1 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 13, 2011
DVD: September 6, 2011
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

being fired


wife leaves husband

drunkenness / alcoholic

divorce in the Bible

DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE—Under what conditions may Christians divorce and remarry? Answer


Does God feel our pain? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer


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Featuring: Will FerrellNick Halsey
Rebecca HallSamantha
Michael PeñaFrank Garcia
Laura Dern … Delilah
Stephen Root
more »
Director: Dan Rush
Producer: Birdsong Pictures
IM Global
Nationlight Productions
Temple Hill Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Lionsgate

“Lost is a good place to find yourself”

Editor’s Note: This review was written by a new volunteer. Please send us your evaluation of his/her work.

Will Ferrell is known for successful films such as: “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” and the raunchy comedy, “Step Brothers.” Nearly every movie Will Ferrell has starred in is simply a goofy comedy that doesn’t really offer any depth to its characters or storytelling. Well, now we have “Everything Must Go.”

“Everything Must Go” is directed by Dan Rush, who is a first timer as a director, and is based on a very short story written by Raymond Carver titled: “Why Don’t You Dance.” It tells the story of Nick Halsey (Ferrell), who in the first 5 minutes of the movie loses his job as a career salesman and comes home to find that his wife has left him, changed the locks on the doors, and scattered everything he owns onto the front lawn. Now, after months of controlling his drinking problem, he turns back to it, never putting a can of beer down, and begins to simply live on his front lawn.

But when his counselor who also happens to be a cop finds out about his living on the lawn, he tells him it is illegal unless he sells his possessions as a “yard sale.” With the help of a 13 year old boy (Christopher Wallace) who is in the neighborhood and the introduction of a new girl across the street, Nick begins to try and put his life back together by deciding that “everything must go.'

Now first let me say that I was really looking forward to this movie, as I usually am with Will Ferrell movies. And for a Will Ferrell movie, this movie really surprised me. First of all, this film really is emotionally complex. Will Ferrell gives a fantastic and heartfelt performance as Nick, which is surprisingly relieving considering it is the “goofy, raunchy Will Ferrell.” But he really does shine in this film. Another strength of the movie is Christopher C. J. Wallace, who has only played in one previous film: Notorious. At just 13, he really does give a great performance that makes you smile, laugh, and feel for his character.

As for the flaws, I can think of a few. One being: the movie showed us that Nick’s home had a backyard, which he does visit frequently, that has a swimming pole with fish in it, and a really nice patio set. The question I had was, instead of trying to sell all of his possessions just so he could stay outside, why didn’t he just move it all to the back yard? One more flaw I had was: why did he try to sell his things? Why not just pack it up and move in with a friend or something. I really didn’t find it realistic that a character would go through all of that just to get some cash for, say, booze?

Offensive content

This film does have a positive message by the time the end comes around; that being said, it is rated R, and rightly so. The main issue in the film is, as can be expected by a Will Ferrell movie, the language. There are around 10 uses of “s**t” and a few other light obscenities, and there are 6 “f-bombs” dropped, which in reality is pretty tame considering this is an R-rated Ferrell movie. I feel that if 4 or 5 of those “f-bombs” would have been left out, this film would have been a PG-13 movie.

The other two offensive objects involve sex. There are a couple scenes in which C.J. Wallace’s character finds playboy magazines amidst Nick’s possessions and asks if he wants to sell them in which he responds, “Keep them in the drawer in case I want to look at them.” The final main sex issue is when Nick looks through the window of his neighbor’s house and sees he and his wife in S&M outfits, yelling sexual terms, and her thrusting him from behind. No nudity is shown, but the scene lasts for around 20-30 seconds.

The only other issues I could find in this film were a scene where Nick slashes his boss” tire with a Swiss army knife and leaves it in the tire because he couldn’t pull it out in time; and, as could be expected, the alcohol consumption that is pervasive throughout the film.

'Everything Must Go” is simply about a man who struggles with an addiction, and wants to be freed from it. As can be expected, he doesn’t turn to what, or in this case, WHO, is the real remedy. As Jesus Christ himself said, “”Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin… Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.' -John 8:34, 36 (HCSB). I can assure you, if you are an alcoholic, as Nick’s character in this film, or if you suffer from any other kind of addiction, Jesus Christ CAN and WILL free you. He died on the cross for YOU. And He will ALWAYS have the power, and desire, to save.

If you can overlook a few uses of language, and a brief sex scene that is played out only for laughs, you may enjoy “Everything Must Go.” I’ve heard some critics say, for Will Ferrell’s career, it is like “Punch Drunk Love” was for Adam Sandler’s career. I can see why they would say that, because the film is definitely sentimental and more serious, but it does offer plenty of laughs, as well.

So, in the end, there are no extremely offensive issues, besides the language, and it is a well written, well acted, and well directed piece of cinematic lore. In my opinion, it is one of Will Ferrell’s best films.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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Movie Critics

“…a terrific performance… a sweetened-up, padded-out scenario of hope cracking through a drunk’s despair. …[B-]”
—Lisa Schwarzbaumm, Entertainment Weekly

“…not all the film it could have been, but is more worth seeing than a lot of other recent releases. … At the end, I was expecting more of an emotional payoff… [3]”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“…If he isn’t careful, Will Ferrell is going to become a bona fide actor. The loudmouthed comedian isn’t there yet. …”
—Scott Bowles, USA Today

“…Ferrell’s performance—all of the performances, in fact—is so poignant that you could hardly bear otherwise. …[4½/5]”
—Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic

“…a ‘Must’-see… Ferrell is surprisingly strong and sympathetic playing a human wreck with a heart worth saving. …”
—James Verniere, The Boston Herald

“…forces one too many complications but closes on a strong note and reminds us less can be more and sometimes, everything must—and can—go. [2½/4]”
—Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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