Published Sep 21, 2019Smartly written and directed with plenty of nods to the Scott Aukerman comedy universe, Between Two Ferns: The Movie is a very funny extended trek through this web series' strange send-up of life on Earth for dim, delusional personalities and the indifferent friends and house plants who enable them.
What began as something of a lark, sending up celebrity interviews via an embittered, anti-social cable access TV host whose every question is an insult, Between Two Ferns has consistently scaled up. Bigger and bigger stars have played along as meta versions of themselves, and even Barack Obama, then sitting President of the United States, came calling to talk about his Affordable Healthcare Act to reach the show's discerning demographic.
The movie itself is even bigger than Obamacare. After he momentarily kills Matthew McConaughey in an epic water leak fiasco that looks like it was complicated to shoot, BTF host Zach Galifianakis faces the wrath of his show's Funny or Die benefactor, Will Ferrell, who promises to get him a real network talk show if he can cross the country and record ten fresh episodes. The simple road trip plot allows the largely improvised dialogue to shine, with endearing performances by the likes of Lauren Lapkus, Ryan Gaul and Jiavani Linayao among others.
As expected, the interviews with celebrities here provoke most of the laughs, as Galifianakis poses the most extraordinarily rude questions and gets into some trouble along the way (the Chrissy Teigen and John Legend subplot here is remarkable). And the blooper reel at the end is not only hilarious, it's instructive for fans who have wondered how anybody can engage in such conversations and not lose their minds.
But strikingly, this is a comedy about loneliness, self-worth and friendship. It has an emotional arc that measures all of the absurdism for something heartfelt and substantive and is a tremendous achievement by Aukerman, Galifianakis, and the now-expanded BTF crew.