While Nick Halsey has been a successful VP for his organization, there has always been a threat to his success…alcohol. When his problems finally catch up to him, the company decides to let him go. Upon returning to his house, he learns that his wife has chosen to do the same and has placed all of his belongings out on the front yard. With no sense of what to do next, Nick decides to simply set up camp on the yard and start rearranging his stuff to live there. Without any true plans for his next step, his decision to sit in his chair and drink is interrupted when the neighbors call in his odd behavior. Given an extension by his friend, Officer Frank Garcia, Nick decides to attempt to hold a yard sale but struggles to let go of anything worth monetary or personal value. Luckily, an unlikely friendship with a neighborhood boy and an attractive new neighbor.
Starring: Will Ferrell (Nick Hasley), Christopher Jordan Wallace (Kenny Loftus), Rebecca Hall (Samantha), Michael Pena (Officer Frank Garcia), Stephen Root (Elliot), Laura Dern (Delilah), Glenn Howerton (Gary)
Unlike most of his other roles, Will Ferrell takes a more dramatic and depressing step in his portrayal of a man down on his luck. In many ways, he does a great job with showing the effects of loss and hopelessness. Though Rebecca Hall may be considered something of a muse in her simple performance as a sweet woman struggling with her own loneliness, Christopher Jordan Wallace provides that innocent presence and persistence which propels the story toward its hopeful conclusion.
In his first feature film, Dan Rush focuses on the experience of loss and recovery through the story of the seemingly hopeless Nick Hasley. Alcoholism is a more dangerous beast than those under its spell realize. As the story highlights, couples can grow apart when one chooses to better themselves while the other stays stuck in their issues. This is the case for Nick, as his wife chooses to leave him at a moment that lets him feel rock bottom. Though he is offered some help by Frank, his resistance comes from his feelings of failure in everything that once defined him. Once his focus on ownership and what made him happy changed, he was ale to start breaking out of his funk and seek out something that actually might make him feel more satisfied with his life.
The relationships in this film are what make it most enjoyable, particularly between Nick and Kenny. As a lonely child, Kenny has a quiet innocence about him that leads him to explore his curiosity in Nick’s situation. With the absence of a consistent parental figure in his life, Kenny seeks out somebody to give him attention and guidance. When Nick starts to play baseball with him and share his knowledge with sales, Kenny sees both a friendship and a mentorship out of someone who struggles to see it in himself. With Samantha, their relationship appears innocent at first, with Nick quietly interested in her but never outwardly saying anything. When she sees a bit of his dark side, she resists his advances but eventually also warms back up to his inspiration.
While the movie may not be a blowout hit, it has some nice redeeming qualities and a few moments of dramatic tension that give the film a little life.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5