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Land of the Lost

Gail Choice | 6/3/2009, 5 p.m.

"Land of the Lost" is a funny, ridiculous movie that reduces the feared T-Rex to a grumpy, deadly giant with a vendetta. It's science meets outrageous comedy Will Ferrell style.

Ferrell ("Step Brothers") is at it again, this time he stars as Dr. Rick Marshall, based on the NBC classic action/adventure 1970's TV series "Land of the Lost" (1973-1977).

Universal acquired the feature rights from Sid and Marty Krofft, executive producers of the original television series, who produced the film for the studio.

Ferrell's character is a joke to the academic world; his outlandish theories only match his really nasty attitude which is demonstrated in the hilarious opening scene with veteran NBC newscaster Matt Lauer who plays himself.

Dr. Marshall (Ferrell) has a lot to prove, but he can't do it alone. His new creation which sucked up $50 million of tax payer money and has a strange 'tick' that will prove most helpful later on, needs to be put to the test. But shunned by the scientific world and with no other resources; he spends his days taunting small children at the Tar Pits. Enter Holly Cantrell played by Anna Friel (ABC series "Pushing Daisies"), who not only believes in his work, but also has a slight crush on him. Holly convinces Dr. Marshall to continue to pursue his vision regardless of the critics and there are many, including Matt Lauer.

Following a recent find she made at a desert outpost, Dr. Marshall and Holly team up with a man described as a redneck survivalist and all around hustler, Will Stanton played by Danny McBride ("Tropic Thunder," "Pineapple Express"). By raft they travel into McBride's rigged up mine shaft when the unexpected happens. They get sucked into a space-time vortex, and in the alternate universe they meet and befriend monkey man Chaka, played by Jorma Taccone ("Role Models").
Only Holly can decipher what their primate friend is saying but monkey man quickly reveals he's anything but slow, and where he's leading them is anybody's guess.

Here the adventure begins while the laughter continues. In this age of over-the-top special effects, giant creatures battling it out with each other and humans alike, it's fun to see fearsome creatures reduced to utter fools or the punch line of a joke. Take T-Rex, as the movie trailer reveals he resents Dr. Marshall implying that he's stupid, claiming that T-Rex has a brain the size of a walnut. T-Rex declares war on Dr. Marshall, and being the egotistical, yet dedicated idiot that he is, Dr. Marshall readily meets the challenge, never letting anyone forget he is the expert, in charge and master to monkey man, Chaka.

Which by the way, gives new meaning to "Land of the Lost."

Stanton (McBride) on the other hand is steering clear of as much danger and work as he can, choosing instead to work at understanding monkey man, Chaka, while Holly (Friel) is desperately trying to maintain the sanity of the expedition and to keep them focused.

In all the mayhem, the team discovers there is a sinister plot afoot involving lizard like creatures that plan to take over the world, dimension by dimension, and only one man can stop them, you got it, Dr. Rick Marshall, or so he thinks. Thank goodness for show tunes!

"Land of the Lost" is funny, and a truly great escape. The antics are unexpected, and they take the familiar and make them ridiculous.

"Land of the Lost," is in theaters Friday.

- Gail Choice can be reached at gcprods@aol.com.