Based on a short story by Raymond Carver, this litte gem of an indie film is a nicely understated, yet slightly offbeat dramedy that stars Will Ferrell and features a nice suporting cast of both knowns and an unknown or two.
This is a nice change of pace for Ferrell. I know he can do more serious and human type stuff, and this is proof of that. He plays Nick Halsey- a past his prime salesman with a history of alcohol issues who, all in one day finds himself fired from his job and kicked (and locked) out of his house after his wife leaves. He copes by taking all of his stuff that she threw out on the lawn, and making his front yard his new home, as well as one epic yard sale.
The set up is the sort of thing that could have been played a number of different ways, and writer/director Dan Rush decided to take the mostly serious, yet still sometimes funny route. It's a nice move that reaches a solid middle ground, and is still relatable, even if the sitauation is slightly bending the rules of reality.
Ferrell is terrific, especially when he decides to really play it straight and down to Earth, as he does here. This is definitely some of his best work, and I'd love to see him enter this type of territory more often. Rebecca Hall is nice as a new neighbor who starts to form a connection with him, and, as a young neighborhood kid who also steps in to help Nick get back on his feet C J Wallace (the son of late rapper the Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans) really shines in his film debut, giving a finely observed portrait of a likeable outsider like Nick who is pretty sharp, yet not an overly precocious or seemingly know-it-all as indies are rather guilty of having. Michale Pena and Stephen Root are good, and, even though she's got very limited screen time, it's nice seeing Laura Dern, sicne she almost always brings a welcome touch of class to the projects she's in.
All in all, this is a really touching and surprising film, and it definitely will leave you disappointed if you're expecting a ridiculous over the top farce a la Step Brothers. I really enjoyed this film quite a bit. So much so that I'm almost considering bumping it up a half star. The film isn't totally perfect, as the whole scenario does seem a tad unrealistic and the end seems a little too easy, but then again, the characters are at least well rounded and developed, and you do care about them, so it's hard not to root for them.
Give this one a shot, it's a nice little treat.