Land of the Lost

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Directed by Brad Silberling. Starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, and Jorma Taccone. Rated PG-13.

Notwithstanding all the boomer studio executives who grow misty-eyed recollecting nerdy childhoods parked in front of the Krofft brothers' television creation, it's hard to think of a compelling reason to remake the popular 1970s sci-fi adventure show for the big screen. Brad Silberling's amiable big puppy of an update has Will Ferrell running at half speed as an insecure, has-been paleontologist who finds himself lost in time and space with the usual nebbishy Wizard of Oz sidekicks — charming Anna Friel as his fearless assistant, a very funny Danny McBride as a trailer-trash survivalist, and Jorma Taccone as an oversexed Neanderthal. All the while, weird creatures with manga eyes try to get their scaly claws on a time-traveling gizmo that plays gay show tunes far too often to sustain the joke. Like so many nominally child-oriented movies these days, Land of the Lost gets its knickers in such a twist trying to curry favor with several demographics at once — gross-out gags for the nippers, scary dinosaurs for the pimply boys, and a modicum of wit to keep parental bums in seats — that it ends up sagging into a pleasantly undistinguished pudding. The big news is that Matt Lauer, playing himself, can act. A little. Hardly at all, really. But he's a jolly good sport and quite handy with a fire extinguisher.

 
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