As lightly and expertly told as the original Raymond Carver short story on which it's based, EVERYTHING MUST GO is a fantastic, unusual meditation on addiction and self-determination. Gone are the sappy, music-swelled moments and the sweeping epiphanies. What's left is an intelligent, compassionate, and (we suspect) much more realistic, much messier arc of a man who's in the grips of alcoholism and is unsure of how to get out from under it -- or whether he even can.
Kudos to director Dan Rush, who knows exactly when to push and when to hold back. The supporting actors, especially Hall and Wallace (who, incidentally, is Biggie Smalls' son) are subtly effective, as is Michael Pena as Nick's less-than-saintly AA sponsor. But the movie is Ferrell's. His Nick isn't a loud, soppy, blustery drunk, and more power to him. Nick is broken to bits, held together by a hair and caseloads of Pabst Blue Ribbon, with a thread of connection to a wisp of his once-righteous self. And the stuff! Seeing all of Nick's worldly possessions on that lawn is reminder to us all: Do any of these things, our things, really matter? If not, what does?