Will Ferrell’s no stranger to TV remakes – alas, this loose update of Sid and Marty Krofft’s heavily syndicated but hardly classic ’70s show is more Bewitched than Starsky & Hutch: a pedigreed but ill-conceived hash.
The original series’ core family has been substituted by a rag-tag collection of associates: crackpot scientist Dr Rick Marshall (Ferrell), eager research assistant Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) and, for no discernible reason, a redneck called Will Stanton (Danny McBride).
The threesome climb into a canoe and stumble into a vaguely explained time/space wormhole – a journey no doubt destined to be a future thrill-ride on the Universal backlot, box office success permitting, of course – and wind up in a landscape Salvador Dalí would be proud of.
Surrealist backdrops and imaginative sets aside, Land Of The Lost offers very little to those hoping for a thrill-ride of the filmic kind.
Making friends with local primate Cha-Ka (Jorma Taccone, who spends most of his screentime pawing Friel), the gang venture across dreamlike terrain in search of their lost Tachyon Meter – the equipment that put them there in the first place, and, you pray, will get them back as soon as possible so the end credits can roll.
Along the way they encounter a dinosaur that’s taken offence to being told he has a brain the size of a walnut, the slow-moving reptilian Sleestaks – apparently hilarious if you’re familiar with the campy ’70s version – and an assortment of CG-styled prehistoric and alien lifeforms.
It’s all grist to the mill, however, mere props and devices for McBride and Ferrell to riff off while the wasted Friel looks on bemused. With their mutual penchant for anarchic daftness, the two funnymen make a well-matched pair, but there are only so many giggles they can milk from material this uneven.
Too raunchy for kids (Ferrell playing with himself), not sharp enough for grown-ups, Land Of The Lost spirals into a comedy limbo.
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As a TV-to-movie remake, LOTL ranks with Lost In Space: fitfully entertaining, largely uninspired. Ferrell does his best, but ends up stranded in the middle of an ideas desert.