8.5 / 10
Lauren Lapkus…Carol Hunch
Ryan Gaul…Cameron “Cam” Campbell
Jiavani Linayao…”Boom Boom” De Laurentis
Chance the Rapper…Himself
Directed by Scott Aukerman
Between Two Ferns: The Movie review:
We might all know and love Zach Galifianakis for his mainstream star-making turn in the 2009 comedy The Hangover, but the comedian’s real rise to stardom came in the form of Funny or Die’s acclaimed comedy talk show Between Two Ferns. Now Galifianakis has returned to sit amongst his longtime green friends and take a trip across America in hopes of attaining a late night talk show by interviewing some of the hottest celebrities in the film and TV industry right now.
Adapting a series consisting of episodes that run about five minutes each is no easy task, let alone finding a way to give a unique take on the “prove myself worthy” road trip tale we’ve seen time again, and though series co-creator and film writer/director Scott Aukerman and Galifianakis have not found a way to reinvent the wheel, they nonetheless have succeeded in stretching the simple premise into an outright joy of an hour and twenty-two minutes, keeping the ball rolling with outrageous antics from the quirky star and his unwitting cohorts.
Galifianakis unsurprisingly carries this movie with his antagonistic yet sweet-natured alter ego. While he makes it so easy to hate him and the way he treats some of our favorite celebrities, he also does well to balance it out with an opening for audiences to sympathize with his character. He’s a socially awkward guy from a small town who is continually typecast in lazy and hateful roles so much to the point he doesn’t know how else to reach out to others except for being abrasive and offensive. The 49-year-old comic uses his improvising talents and self-deprecating humor to large success as he continually finds ways to put himself in a bad limelight and in harm’s way, all for the audience’s amusement.
In addition to the character-actor, audiences are treated to hilarious performances from nearly the entire supporting cast, ranging from the laid back calmness of Matthew McConaughey in the middle of a crumbling studio to a giddy Jon Hamm to the mentor-like nature of the legendary David Letterman. But aside from all of the star-studded cameos featured in hilarious interview snippets, one of the true shining lights of the film comes from Lauren Lapkus’ optimistic assistant to Zach, Carol.
She very much acts as the audience’s anchor the events that transpire as she, like those watching, would love to see the lead protagonist succeed even while struggling to reign in his more outlandish and off-putting behavior. Given Lapkus’ history with improv, she proves her skills in finding a balance between playing the straight face to Zach’s goofball antics while also playing along with every ill-mannered question and outrageous request to reach talk show stardom.
It is rather refreshing to see a film actively choose to not try and develop or grow its character towards any positive characteristics, keeping Zach rather despicable and out-of-line all the way up to the film’s conclusion, only having learned to appreciate the crew he has a little more while still choosing the life of a disrespectful host whose only goal is to cut down his guests anyway possible. Most films would try and change its protagonists’ flaws over the course of the story and yet Aukerman and Galifianakis choose to allow their antihero to embrace his flaws and live the life he knows and loves best.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie might not break new ground in the TV-adapted-for-film or road trip genres with its storytelling but it finds a way to draw not only its original fans in but also new fans to the series with some hilarious interviews, brilliant performances from its lead and co-stars and a breezy pace that makes this a joy to watch.
Check out Between Two Ferns: The Movie on Netflix by clicking here!