Between two ferns

Stars: 4/5

Zach Galifianakis trolling a bunch of celebrities for about an hour and 20minutes. Awkwardness and hilarity ensue.

The film mixes a fictitious narrative with the premise of interviewing real celebrities for a public access TV Show. In the film, Will Ferrell uploaded “Between Two Ferns” to Funny Or Die, where it went viral. Thus, the film opens with Galifianakis interviewing Matthew McConaughey on the low budget set. The name of the film comes from the fact the interview takes place between two potted ferns. 

During the interview, pipes burst due to a blockage caused by Galifianakis's bizarre antics, momentarily killing McConaughey and destroying the set. Ferrell offers Galifianakis his own late night talk show if he’s able to complete a number of high profile interviews before a deadline, setting off Zach and his crew, assistant Carol (Lauren Lupkus), and cameramen Cam (Ryan Gaul) and Gaya (Rekha Shankar) and the two ferns. 

The film, based on the Emmy Award winning Funny Or Die series, is funny because it is so awkward, as Chrissy Teigen said before sleeping with Zach in the film. You can tell the guests are uncomfortable and don’t want to be there, but they still are anyway and it’s great. The next day, John Legend appeared on the show and maced Galifianakis in some uncomfortable places as vengeance. 

The show features extremely funny, albeit bordering on cliche, jokes. The show lists Legend as a Michael Bublé impersonator, Galifianakis mispronounces Benedict Cumberbatch’s name several times when the actor guest stars on the show, then Paul Rudd says he’s not a practicing Jew because he perfected it. Rudd’s appearance was one of the most comical ones, though the crew stealing from Peter Dinklage was a close second. 

The only fallacy of this show, and I did not come to this conclusion until watching the post credit bloopers, is that it’s not more organic. The actors should be allowed to react in a natural way to Galifianakis's uncomfortable questions. Seeing Brie Larson crack up after Galifianakis asked her how old she was when she got her first period was a far less cringey watch. 

The show also tries too hard to be awkward and funny, which has the opposite effect. I get that the show and the film are parodies of talk shows, but it would elevate creativity if Galifianakis, who is a comedian in addition to being an actor, was allowed to be random and spontaneous along with his guests. Rudd was hilarious both in his scripted interview as well as the bloopers.

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