‘Between Two Ferns: The Movie’ Review: Zach Galifianakis Parodies Bad Ideas on Netflix

IndieWire | 9/21/2019 | Staff
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Zach Galifianakis knows audiences love his “Between Two Ferns” interviews just as much as he knows they’ve reached their limit. Three years ago, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he matter-of-factly described the hit Funny or Die web series as “one note,” admitted he didn’t know what else to do with it, and, after interviewing everyone from Brad Pitt to Barack Obama, said the show had “kind of run it’s course.” He later resurrected the bit to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — much like he interviewed Obama to help Healthcare.org — but the latest incarnation of “Between Two Ferns” isn’t so philanthropic.

“Between Two Ferns: The Movie” knows it shouldn’t exist. Given Netflix money to become more celebrity-decorated Netflix content, writer, and director Scott Aukerman’s 82-minute feature is styled as a mockumentary, using a purposefully flimsy plot to stitch together a bunch of interviews in one easy-to-sell package. While the absurd humor pairs nicely with a film that parodies its own existence, knowingly winking at the audience every time it tosses in a convenient actor or an inconvenient yet easy-to-overcome obstacle, everything outside the ferns can’t compare to what’s between. Stacking all those interviews on top of each other dulls their overall effect.

Laughs - Ferrell - Stands - Netflix - Funny

Still, there are laughs throughout, and even if they’re inconsistent, some are really, really sharp. Will Ferrell stands in for Netflix, playing a Funny or Die executive (as he is in real life) who walks around with a digital click tracker measuring how many views his website gets (as he might do in real life). Each click, he tells viewers, “equals more green (rubs his fingers together), which equals more white (snorts cocaine), which equals more purple” (a feather boa he likes, apparently).

“Between Two Ferns” is a major source of those clicks, so — even though...
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