Review of Everything Must Go

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A 2011 comedy-drama based on the short story "Why Don't You Dance?" by Raymond Carver. Will Ferrell plays an alcoholic who relapses and subsequently loses his wife and his job. In an attempt to start over, he holds a yard sale and meets a neighbor who might be the key to his return to form.

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Movie Review: "Everything Must Go"
-- Rating: R (language and some sexual content)
Length: 97 minutes
Release Date: September 10, 2010
Directed by: Dan Rush
Genre: Comedy

"Everything Must Go," directed by Dan Rush, is based off a short story, Why Don't You Dance, by Raymond Carver. The story is centered on the main character, Nick Halsey (played by the hilarious Will Ferrell), who is a drunk who faces a tough decision in his life.

The opening scene of the movie sets the tone for what is to follow. Nick has only just recently been fired from his long-term job when an unfortunate incident occurs-Nick uses his farewell gift, a fine Swiss Army Knife, to puncture his supervisor's tires. It gets worse when he cannot pull the offending knife out of the tire. Nick chooses to flee the scene only to realize that the knife has his name on it. As a solution to his troubles, Nick drives to a nearby convenience store and stocks up on as much alcohol as he can get his hands on.

When Nick returns home, he is shocked to discover that his wife has left him a letter saying that she could no longer put up with his antics. Furthermore, his wife has changed the locks to the house and also dumped all Nick's stuff out on the front lawn. Faced with no other alternative, Nick spends the night out sleeping on the lawn. Once he wakes up, Nick goes out to purchase food and some more alcohol. When he returns, his company car has been towed from his driveway. Additionally, his credit cards and phone account have been terminated. Despite being a drunk and no hoper, all of these events help the viewer to feel some kind of sympathy for the plight that Nick is going through.

On top of all of this, the police turn up and politely ask Nick to leave the property, as he no longer has possession of it. Faced with being evicted, Nick asks the cops to call his AA sponsor, Frank Garcia, who is played by Michael Peña. Garcia suggests that Nick make it look like he is having a yard sale in order to make up for the embarrassment of living on his front lawn. As Garcia is a detective, he is able to issue Nick with a permit to hold a yard sale for up to three days. Nick warms to this idea because it would allow him to not be humiliated by his neighbors and at the same time get rid of some unneeded possessions.

Because he has little experience of yard sales, Nick gets Kenny (played by Christopher Jordan Wallace), a kid from across the street, to help sell whatever possessions he has remaining. The promise is that in return Nick will pay him a few dollars and also teach him how to play baseball. However, the first day of Nick's yard sale does not go as planned because he is not willing to part with the few possessions that are linked to his old life. A little while later Nick is introduced to his new neighbor, Samantha (played by Rebecca Hall), and invites her to come and see his yard. Nick straight up lies to her by stating that he has not had a drink for the last six months and he was fired through unethical means.

Because Nick is running out of cash, he is unable to have binge drinking experiences as he was once used to. Not surprisingly, Nick begins to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Being concerned for her new neighbor, Samantha tells Nick that he needs help fast. Nick does not really respond to this, so Samantha walks off angrily. This is the one scene in the movie that acts as the turning point-Nick realizes that he has been irresponsible and needs to make changes in his life.

The following morning Nick wakes up only to discover that Kenny has managed to sell almost all of his remaining possessions. Nick also goes to Samantha and apologizes for his behavior the night before. The two of them then go out to dinner, where Nick bumps into his old boss from work. His ex-employer remarks how Nick was dismissed unfairly and he would have kept his job had he not stabbed his supervisor's tires. After going out to dinner with Samantha, Nick finds out that his wife has been living with Frank ever since she walked out on him. The two of them have a heated argument and Frank comments that Nick does not deserve his wife because of his troubles with alcohol. However, Frank does give Nick a little bit of money and a key to his old house. Pleased with this outcome, Nick returns home and gives away his last remaining items. The film ends with Nick hugging Samantha and ready to move on with the rest of his life.

"Everything Must Go" is a classic comedy film that provides plenty of laughs. Unlike most comedies, however, there is a really good plot to the story that makes it well worth watching.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars