From the outset, you should know: This is not your typical Will Ferrell comedy filled with pratfalls, but one of those darker, slower character pieces that the normally goofy actor occasionally indulges in.
Dan Rush's dramedy is an adaptation of a Raymond Carver story: It starts in a dark place, but moves toward the light. When we meet Nick (Ferrell), an all-American everyman in a downward spiral, he's just been fired, and his wife has left him, locking him -- and all his possessions -- out on his tidy suburban lawn. Nick makes the now-cluttered lawn his new home, boozing and raging, until two new friendships help him re-focus. Across the road is a new neighbor (Rebecca Hall), and happening by out of boredom is Kenny (Christopher Wallace, son of the late rapper Biggie Smalls), a lonely kid undaunted by Nick's pettiness.
There's nothing particularly revelatory in Nick's journey: He has to hit bottom; check himself; divest of the past in order to have a future (there will be a convenient soul-cleansing yard sale); and forgive and move on. And, in this virtually single-set study, each character will teach the other something.
Yet Everything is engaging enough: Nick's situation is relatable -- he's lived as expected, while neither being satisfied nor noticing how off track he's veered -- and the role is not a bad fit for Ferrell. Nick could be where some of his sunnier characters find themselves when life and immaturity trip them up. Starts Fri., May 13. Manor (Al Hoff) CP Approved