Many critics have already begun claiming that the only thing the Will Ferrell version of Land of the Lost shares with the original television show is the title. I disagree. If you’re familiar with the the 1970s Sid and Marty Krofft cult classic, you may remember that — at least compared to today’s standards — the special effects were hokey, the acting was atrocious, the dialogue was cheesy, and much of the Saturday morning show felt like a weird acid trip for children.
The 2009 Land of the Lost is similarly cheesy, and like its predecessor, feels at times like an acid trip. Only this trip feels similar to the effects of a narcotic featured in the movie: It’s like having your “intestine punctured with a zombie dick.” Land of the Lost is a big old bag of pube balls that sticks in your throat for an hour and half no matter how hard you try to cough them up. Land of the Lost aims for the camp value of the series, but its combined with a more family-friendly-ish approach and filtered through a big Hollywood studio, which is a bit like seeing your grandfather in baggy jeans a backwards cap and other assorted hip hop attire. The clothes are right, but the attitude belongs in a nursing home, where Will Ferrell’s gibberish would go over quite well with strained peas and carrots.
Ferrell stars as Dr. Rick Marshall, a man whose belief in time warps gets him laughed off of the “Today” show and made a YouTube sensation (please, Hollywood: Stop referring to Myspace, YouTube, and Facebook in your movies. It’s lame.) Defeated, Rick Marshall resorts to teaching grade schoolers. Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) tracks him down at the elementary school and suggests that his time travel theories are right. That if you do something or another with Tachyons, you can travel to a different dimension where the past, present, and future all exist at once. A trip to Arby’s and a food coma later, and Marshall has created a Tachyon device that will not only allow them to travel through a time warp, but it also plays Broadway’s “A Chorus Line.” Repeatedly. Throughout the movie. And played for jokes, mostly of the “that’s so gay” variety.
Holly and Marshall thus take their device out into the desert and into a cave, along with the white-trash tour guide, Will (Danny McBride), and they all fall through a time warp and land in a prehistoric desert along with several other modern artifacts that, at different periods of time, fell into the time warp. Like an airplane. A ship. A suspension bridge. And an ice-cream truck.
In this other land, the three are chased around by a Tyrannosaurus Rex offended by Marshall’s insults; they meet a primate, Cha-Ka (Jorma Taccone), who Holly can inexplicably communicate with; and they run into the leader of the Sleestaks, Enik, who needs their Tachyon device to save the Earth from a Sleestak invasion. And so, the three spend the rest of the movie trying to track down the device, which includes climbing atop a volcano and doing a Chorus Line number through Pterodactyl eggs.
It’s as moronic as it sounds. Add to that the poor CGI effects and the Sleestak creatures — who look like mascots for minor-league sports teams — and Danny McBride’s shtick, which is completely neutered by the PG-13 rating, and you’ve got yourself one hell giant dinosaur turd. Granted, there are a few decent Will Ferellisms, and some of that Anchorman absurdity coursing through Land of the Lost, but it’s all aimed at dumb 12-year-old boys. It’s sophomore absurdity — non-sequiturs without any bite. In fact, maybe the best part of the entire movie (save when Anna Friel removes the legs from her jeans) is Matt Lauer in two brief appearances.
I suppose, though, if you find a woman trying to reason with a Tyrannosaurus with the movie’s big heartfelt speech, or Will Ferrell dousing himself with dino urine, then Land of the Lost is the sort of ri-goddamn-diculous movie you’d appreciate. But that would make you a smelly pirate hooker.