Between Two Ferns: The Movie Review
by T. Knight
*** 3 Stars
I couldn’t help but feel that the film’s story beats – the loss and re-growth of friendship, thanks to the heights of celebrity fame – have been done better before;
Stars: Zach Galifianakis, Lauren Lapkus, Ginger Gonzaga, Ryan Gaul
Between Two Ferns is an internet ‘talk show’ hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis, that prides itself in making its guests feel as awkward as possible, and where just about anything can happen. There’s little else like it, aside from Adult Swim’s ‘the Eric Andre Show’, which effectively has the same premise, only with far more outlandish humour.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie takes the awkward interviews of the internet show, and strings them together with a flimsy narrative, in a ‘mockumentary’ style, following Galifianakis ‘behind the scenes’ of the show, after a catastrophic interview involving Matthew McConaughey. Push comes to shove, and Galifianakis is off on a road trip to interview a series of different celebrities, with whatever’s left of his production team. The story, while paper thin, manages to keep the film together, with the short but sweet interviews proving the highlight of the film. These segments are shortened episodes of the original show, my particular favourite being a tense interview with John Legend.
However, none of the film’s scenes prove entirely memorable, with some jokes just trying too hard with ‘out there’ humour, leaving the film a mixed bag. I can’t see myself looking back on it and wanting to re-watch any of the jokes in the future. Nonetheless, the film is funnier than not, which is enough to carry you through the film.
The film’s collection of celebrities each provide equally entertaining performances while the idea of ‘unscripted’ interviews has clearly been thrown out of the window, and the trio of crew members accompanying Galifianakis across America also prove entertaining to watch, having a few of their own sweet moments, providing a nice contrast to the film’s humour. Though, as I watched more and more of the film, I couldn’t help but feel that the film’s story beats – the loss and re-growth of friendship, thanks to the heights of celebrity fame – have been done better before; the most notable case being 2016’s Popstar: Never Stop, Never Stopping starring Andy Samberg, which not only outshines Between Two Ferns with its far superior writing, but also in its presentation as a mockumentary.
Ultimately, Between Two Ferns: The Movie is a perfectly harmless watch, with a plethora of celebrity cameos, and a handful of laughs, but there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done better elsewhere.
Between Two Ferns: the Movie is currently available on Netflix and was rated 15 by the BBFC.