Everything Must Go is Will Ferrell’s Star Dust Memories. It’s Ferrell dropping his man-child shtick and taking a chance at actually playing someone who’s so deep in existential dread that he’s incapable of laughing at himself. Ferrell plays Nick, a district manager for a corporate company who’s having a rough week. First, he’s fired from his job and then his wife decides to leave him. She changes the locks to their house and throws all of his stuff out onto the lawn. On top of all this, Nick who has been fighting alcoholism is once again reaching for the bottle.
Based on Raymond Carver’s short story Why Don’t You Dance, Dan Rush’s little film is beautifully told tale about a middle age man in crisis. Nick is physically and emotionally paralyzed by all the clutter he has accumulated throughout his life and is finally force to deal with it. The film at times ventures into some dark places but never feels self-important or indulgent. It’s a pleasure to watch Ferrell be given a character that’s as complex and damaged as Nick. It’s Ferrell strongest performance to date and serves as a reminder that he does have the acting chops for drama. The supporting cast is superb with Rebecca Hall as Nick’s neighbour and Michael Pena as Nick’s sponsor. The real standout though is Christopher Jordan Wallace, the son of decreased rapper Biggie Smalls who steals the show as a neglected kid who befriends Nick.
Everything Must Go isn’t perfect, at times the film has issue with its pacing and the writing is contrived at certain parts but it’s a refreshing little American indie that manages to be topical, funny and affecting all at the same time.