MovieMantz Review: ‘Land of the Lost'

"No Man's 'Land'"

"Land of the Lost"
Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride
Directed by Brad Silberling

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Every summer, at least one would-be blockbuster turns out to be such a big fat bomb that it leaves a massive crater on the backlot of the Hollywood studio that produced it. Last year, "Speed Racer" left a gaping hole on the Warner Bros. lot, but this year, the turkey on the other end of that burning fuse is Universal's "Land of the Lost."

That's a problem for Will Ferrell, who stumbles yet again after middling comedies like last year's "Semi-Pro" and "Step Brothers." But it's hard to tell just whom this movie is for anyway, since it doesn't really work as an update of the kitchy 70s TV series produced by Sid & Marty Krofft, nor does it work as a family film, since some of the jokes, while juvenile, are still too racy for kids under 12.

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When Dr. Rick Marshall (Ferrell) and his trusty sidekicks Will (Danny McBride) and Holly (Anna Friel) go on a routine expedition, the greatest earthquake ever known transports them to an alternate universe filled with prehistoric dinosaurs, giant insects and a horny ape-man named Chaka. As they race against time to get back to their own universe, they must also contend with the Sleestak – evil, lizard-like creatures that yield enough power to destroy both worlds.

Where the bland idealism, cheap production values and cheesy special effects defined the charm of the TV series, director Brad Silberling and screenwriters Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas try to make the big screen version a flat-out Will Ferrell comedy – and it comes up painfully short in that regard. Despite a few chuckles, not much happens in this $100 million misfire, which feels padded even at just 1 hour and 41 minutes. "Jurassic Park" it ain't.

Ferrell tries to milk his self-aware, tongue-in-cheek humor for all its worth, but after building his career on it (in addition to impressive turns in 2004's "Melinda and Melinda" and 2006's "Stranger Than Fiction"), it's starting to feel old. Co-stars Danny McBride and Anna Friel are in on the joke – as is "Today" co-host Matt Lauer, who plays himself in the film's funniest scenes – but the movie looks like it was more fun to make than it is to watch.

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"Land of the Lost" is an odd film, which will hardly be enough to turn it into the massive hit that it needs to be. Instead of telling a fun and exciting story with fully realized characters, it's just a collection of gags – too few of which actually work. So the next time you're on the Universal Studios backlot, and you see a gaping hole, you know where it came from.

Verdict: SKIP IT!

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