‘Land of the Lost’: The title says it all

June 2, 2009





OK, I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong.


I apologize to “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” It’s not the most witless, humor-challenged movie of the summer.


The winner and new champion: “Land of the Lost.” At least there’s truth in advertising. See it and you lose your time, the money you spent on a ticket and, perhaps, the ability to walk upright without dragging your knuckles on the ground.


Abandon hope, all ye who enter.


With this film, Will Ferrell officially signals the end of his 15 minutes. Indeed, if it weren’t for Matt Lauer, there’d be nary a laugh at all in this excruciatingly lazy and unnecessary film. I repeat: The biggest laughs belong to Matt Lauer.


Dinosaur urine and poop are the best they’ve got? Oh, wait – I forgot the numerous times the monkey man groped Anna Friel’s breasts. Apparently director Brad Silberling thought it got funnier every time. He was wrong.


Indeed, this comedy auteur – whose scary resume includes “Casper” and that awful Lemony Snicket movie – is seldom right, starting with the impulse to remake a thunderingly lame TV show from the 1970s as a Will Ferrell vehicle.


I propose that there should be criminal penalties for wasting $100 million on a movie this dreadful. Maybe someone can implement Hollywood’s version of the hockey penalty box for actors and directors who knowingly make one. Sorry, Will, you’ve got to sit the next one out.


How could they not know? Probably they didn’t notice because they were too busy standing around on the set, cracking each other up and congratulating themselves on what comic geniuses they are, while collecting massive paychecks. The movie is filled with weak ad-libs, by Ferrell and costar Danny McBride – which makes you wonder how bad the script was, if they thought this stuff was funnier.


Perhaps 8-year-olds will laugh at the slapdash tale of a scientist whose invention (which plays the soundtrack of “A Chorus Line” as a running joke) sends him and two companions into another dimension, populated by extras from the opening scenes of “2001” and an army of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Perhaps.


But do we really want to start lowering the standards and expectations of America’s youth at such an impressionable age? Never mind the foul language, the excrement jokes, the limp bawdiness. This movie should carry a warning that says:


“CAUTION! This film may be hazardous to your child’s taste in comedy.”


At one point, there’s mention of the YouTube video in which a monkey pees in its own mouth. I’m here to tell you that the 30 seconds of that video is more entertaining than all 106 minutes of this movie.


Except maybe Matt Lauer.



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