Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Lauren Lapkus, Ryan Gaul
Director: Scott Aukerman
Running Time: 82 mins
Between Two Ferns: The Movie is an American film following public access TV talk show host Zach Galifianakis as he takes his crew cross-country to film a series of awkward celebrity interviews in a desperate attempt to save his show and his dreams.
There are few ideas more doomed to fail than extending a pokey internet show and extending it over an hour and a half, especially one as small-scale as Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns. However, miraculously, Between Two Ferns: The Movie manages to pull it off, proving both a satisfying companion to the hilarious original online series as well as an impressive standalone watch with great humour, a fun story, and even the odd moment of heartfelt emotion.
I was genuinely blown away by how much I enjoyed this movie. It’s not an exceptional film by any means – with an often messy narrative and the odd joke that doesn’t land – but having gone in with expectations at rock bottom, to come out smiling and laughing so much was such a wonderful surprise.
The appeal of the original internet series was simple: Galifianakis and his celebrity friends in deliberately awkward interviews – where everything that can goes wrong. It’s a short and sharp show that works brilliantly over the course of three or four minutes, but would definitely come across as painfully repetitive over the course of a feature-length film.
But this movie knows that too, so as well as keeping the interviews themselves to an appropriate but still satisfying minimum, it puts in the effort to develop a story of its own, with the team of four’s road trip across the country becoming a solid and thoroughly entertaining base for the whole movie.
Filled with great humour of its own that’s not just about awkward celebrity encounters, and keeping celebrity cameos to a minimum as well, Between Two Ferns: The Movie is just as much of a fun, adventure movie as it is an adaptation of an internet series, and one that will have you laughing right the way through with consistently funny comedy.
Another big plus here is just how well paced and structured the film is. As I said, the celebrity interviews are kept to a good minimum, and don’t form the main focus of the movie, but they’re also spread out very evenly throughout, meaning that they never get tiring or repetitive as I expected at first, and also that the road trip story is given time to develop on its own, allowing you to connect with the very funny foursome without getting distracted by another celebrity cameo.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this movie, but there are still a few problems. The story does impress with some pleasant and heartfelt moments, but it unfortunately lets them fall a little by the wayside in the face of the comedy. For one, Zach Galifianakis’ character is frustratingly inconsistent, becoming a caring and thoroughly likable person over the course of his road trip, and yet still acting rude and awkward in the interviews, which just doesn’t make sense whenever you see that switch.
Also, the movie tries to put an uplifting and wholesome message across in the finale, and as much as I admire it for trying instead of being purely stupid, it’s very muddled, with characters making decisions in a split second that just doesn’t fit their personality at all, something that’s always frustrating to see.
With all that said, though, I still really liked Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Miraculously taking a three-minute internet show and extending it over feature length without getting boring, it’s a really funny movie that not only features some good, awkward celebrity interviews, but also a good, well-paced and well-structured story of its own, standing as a thoroughly entertaining standalone watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6 overall.