Land of the Lost (2009)


(director: Brad Silberling; screenwriters: Chris Henchy/Dennis McNicholas/based on the TV series by Sid & Marty Krofft; cinematographer: Dion Beebe; editor: Peter Teschner; music: Michael Giacchino; cast: Will Ferrell (Dr. Rick Marshall), Danny McBride (Will Stanton), Anna Friel (Holly Cantrell), Jorma Taccone (Chaka). Matt Lauer (Himself), John Boylan (Enik), Leonard Nimoy (The Zarn); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Jimmy Miller/Sid Krofft/ Marty Krofft; Universal Pictures; 2009)

“A sure-fire candidate for one of the year’s worse films.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The only thing this tasteless and unfunny comedy—filled with dinosaurs, a doofus shtick by Will Ferrell and potty humor—gave me, was a shameless product plug for Subway (Subway is the film’s financial partner). The budget for the poorly received B movie is estimated at $200 million to produce, market and distribute worldwide, but its disappointing opening weekend box office returns of around $19 million makes it unlikely that it will ever get its money back. It’s based on a tacky loser 1970s Saturday morning children’s TV series by Sid & Marty Krofft (it ran from 1974 to 1976), and is inadequately written in a gimmicky way by Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas. Brad Silberling (“Casper”/ “Moonlight Mile”/ “City of Angels”) directs a sure-fire candidate for one of the year’s worse films.

It has disgraced blowhard “quantum paleontologist” Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) flaunt his crackpot theories on time travel and parallel universes while plugging his book, My Other Car Is a Time Machine, on host Matt Lauer’s “Today” TV show. With his rep ruined on the show, Marshall can only get work as an elementary school teacher. But the brainy British science dropout student from Cambridge, Holly (Anna Friel), becomes his research assistant and encourages him to complete work on his new invention. At the Devil Canyon’s Mystery Cave, in the desert, he and Holly take a tour of the theme park with Southern redneck Will Stanton (Danny McBride) as a guide. On the ride in the tachyon-rich cave, Marshall tests out his newest invention, the “tachyon amplifier,” that can bring one to another dimension and is greeted with the greatest earthquake ever known. Thereby the trio are sucked into a time warp and land in a desert, “land of the Lost,” inhabited by dinosaurs, monkey-creatures and creepy lizard-like Sleestaks.

The comedy highlights include a frisky monkey called Chaka (Jorma Taccone) grabbing Holly’s boobs, Marshall dousing himself with dinosaur urine in the false belief that will keep T. Rex, Grumpy, off his tail and, when even more desperate for a laugh, Marshall sticks his hand down his shorts to pleasure himself (raunchy comedy not exactly suited for a children’s film). The closest thing to a sight gag that almost works is when Marshall’s backpack (his time machine) — built from old computer parts — fondly remembers the opening song to “A Chorus Line.”

An uninspired acting turn from man-child Will Ferrell, sight gags that continuously misfire and a lame story line, turns this recycled dreck into a lethargic piece of cultural junk. It might be more fun to be in an earthquake than watch this bomb, again.