Hey, Man: Don't Bogart the Land of the Lost


This weekend, audiences looking to plop down a dozen bucks in exchange for a few laughs (and those audiences will be huge) will have two choices. Well, three, but let's just eliminate My Life in Ruins right off the bat. 1) The Hangover, following a trio of dudes trying to piece together an evening of Las Vegas debauchery after a roofies-induced blackout, and 2) Land of the Lost, a big-budget adaptation of the Sid and Marty Krofft show, reconfigured as a Will Ferrell vehicle. It mixes dinosaurs, cavemen, sci-fi crystal-speak mumbo-jumbo, and a lumbering race of upright lizard people into a sort of stupidity-glazed decoupage of Saturday morning nostalgia.

Those who choose The Hangover will almost invariably be delighted with what they pay to see, a nicely paced Dude, Where's My Car?-with-a-brain that features strong performances across-the-board -- most notably from Zach Galifiniakis, who channels a Blutoesque other-worldness to Alan, the misfit brother-of-the-bride clinging defiantly to his love of man purses satchels and statutory rape.

But what of those who choose the other? Universal has been marketing Lost as a sort of fun-for-the-whole-family adventure, the kind of thing you could dump your kids at if they've already seen Night of the Museum 2 and are still angling for some more goofy manchildren and rampaging, CGInosaurs.

There's a review embargo until June 5th -- never a great sign -- but a couple renegades have thumbed their nose and posted theirs anyway. There's two on Rotten Tomatoes -- both are withering pans. One is from Marshall Fine, who declares, "With this film, Will Ferrell officially signals the end of his 15 minutes." 15 minutes? Really? He joined the cast of SNL in 1995, went on to appear in roughly three dozen movies, earns $20 million per picture, and is currently going head-to-head with Liza Minnelli (Commie!) for a Tony award.

The other is some typo- and error-riddled nightmare from that essential trade journal "Compuserve" by a man named "Harvey Karten." It has sentences that literally trail off mid-word. An excerpt:

Ferrell, who knocked out A-1 performances in the role of Buddy in Jon Favreau's "Elf," Ron Burgundy in Adam McKay's "Anchorman," and Ricky Bobby in Adam McKay's "Talladega Nights." I wish I had been able to see him on the Broadway stage in the role of George W. Bush in Marty Callner's "Will Ferrell: You're Welcome American - A Final Night with George W. Bush, which had excellent buzz.

"You're Welcome American?" Um, Rotten Tomatoes: Please rethink your application vetting process.

Still, the movie seems teed to be chipped into the sprawling sand trap of forgettable Ferrell efforts. I have seen it, but will adhere to the embargo. I'll say this, however: The marketing is off. Way, way off. Lost is, to its core, a stoner comedy. Which isn't to say you necessarily need to be stoned to enjoy it, but it helps. A lot. Not that I was. But it will. Just trust me.