A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this big-screen version of the cult-classic 1970s TV show has lots of vulgar language, as well as an extended sequence in which some of the main characters are clearly stoned on a natural narcotic/hallucinogenic substance. There's also a high degree of body-function humor: At one point, a character douses himself in dinosaur urine to mask his scent, an egg is removed from a huge pile of dinosaur feces, and a character is swallowed whole and later excreted by a dinosaur.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After his bizarre theories about time-travel and inter-dimensional wormholes earn him the scorn of the scientific community, Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) is exiled to working as a tour guide at the La Brea tar pits. Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel), the one person who believes his theories, finds him, encourages him to build his dimension-spanning equipment, and then leads him to a souvenir stand in the desert run by Will (Danny McBride) that just happens to be at a weak spot between worlds. Soon, the three are transported to a strange primitive world full of dinosaurs, friendly primates, and scary lizard men.
Is it any good?
What saves LAND OF THE LOST from being annoying or overblown is the naked transparency of its low ambitions. This isn't a serious-minded reinvention of the series or an attempt to make a work of art out of '70s TV. Instead, it's a chance for Ferrell and McBride -- two talented comedic improvisers -- to do their thing in a world of dinosaurs and dangers, peril and parody.
Director Brad Silberling, working from a script by two ex-Saturday Night Live writers, knows this, so he goes easy on spectacle and heavy on slapstick. Land of the Lost is hardly the most original comedy -- Ferrell's playing another of his arrogant airheads, McBride another of his roughneck buffoons -- and yet something about the sci-fi setting makes what could have been tired moments fresh, as if a familiar restaurant redecorated while still serving old favorite recipes. A broad, foolish comedy, Land of the Lost has more than a few laughs, even if it is somehow both expensive and disposable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the phenomenon of '70s TV shows coming to the big screen. Does this represent the fact that these shows have wormed their way into the public consciousness because they were worthwhile -- or is it just about making money?
Families can also talk about Will Ferrell -- what do all of his characters seem to have in common? What's behind his comedic appeal?
- In theaters: June 5, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: October 12, 2009
- Cast: Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Will Ferrell
- Director: Brad Silberling
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, and for language including a drug reference