Certainly an odd choice for a Will Ferrell vehicle, Land of the Lost is loosely based on a Saturday morning kid’s show yet plays out like a raunchy gross-out adult comedy. Liking the burly comic is a must to ensure enjoyment, and accepting quantum paleontology, parallel dimensions, time machines, temperamental dinosaurs, telepathic reptilian aliens, and show tunes sure helps.
Heavily ridiculed for his unorthodox methods and outlandish theories, paleontologist Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) is practically expelled from the scientific community after a disastrously embarrassing interview with Matt Lauer. All but giving up on his ideas of time travel and dimensional warps, Marshall’s appetite for discovery is reinvigorated upon meeting enthusiastic colleague Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel), who has ardently followed his teachings. Completing the tachyon amplifying device that comprised the heart of his studies, Rick, Holly, and dimwitted tour guide Will Stanton (Danny McBride) are transported during a “routine experiment” to a prehistoric alternate dimension where dinosaurs, cavemen, and lizard people roam free.
Very little remains faithful to the original TV show source material (the film does open with an appropriately old Universal logo) other than the extremely cheesy situations, trace character designs and fantasy themes – Land of the Lost may be produced by Sid and Marty Krofft, but it’s entirely a Will Ferrell film. His brand of immature but innuendo-filled humor will likely offend parents, bore young adults, and go over the heads of children. The few worthy laughs are dependent on references and insinuations to mature content but are likely to be dismissed for the overbearingly common universe-conquering plot. It’s a one-man show (although bawdy-comedy regular Danny McBride has a few spotlight moments) that isn’t as daring as Ferrell’s usual works and toned down for the PG-13 rating – sadly it’s also not completely family-friendly.
With contrived plot jargon like tachyon-harnessing, transdimensional energy, quantum-paleontology and self-induced food comas, the show is unfortunately more cowardly nonsensical than inspiringly visionary as Marshall himself is described. Urine gags and queasy jokes are present for the sake of an independent laugh rather than to build upon a cleverly derived sequence and always rely on crudeness. It doesn’t help that everyone easily outruns the T-Rex (repeatedly), language barriers are introduced but practically ignored, and every dilemma or antagonist presents zero real threat (perils can safely be avoided by spontaneous singing and dancing). It’s insincere, un-severe and unintelligent – at least Anna Friel strips down to short shorts and a revealing tank top a few minutes after arriving in the land of the lost.