Nick Halsey (Wil Ferrell) is an alcoholic who has lost his job and, upon arriving home, finds his wife has thrown all of his belongings on the front lawn and has left. In denial, he starts to live on his lawn until an unlikely friendship with a black teenager, Kenny and a direct conversation with his new, pregnant neighbour Samantha leads him to start taking action.
I don’t know why it seems that so many of the films that I have seen recently have been these slow-moving character pieces with someone having to deal with major negative life changes where not much happens but eventually things start getting better. They are probably good films, but when you see several in a short period of time, any potential impact is lost. What’s more, in this as in several other films, the character’s turnaround comes from very little, and seems to be quite definite and final.
Wil Ferrell is very believable as this broken man. I think many comic actors can be quite good in serious roles – think Adam Sandler in Punchdrunk Love, or Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Or Robin Williams in several of his serious roles (not all, though. He does have a tendency to get a bit too earnest). Wil Ferrell can definitely do it too – he was fabulous in the much under-rated Stranger Than Fiction. By all means, so for more serious roles, but I reckon go for films that have a bit more plot.