Don’t go in expecting a goofy, happy Will Ferrell. This is him at his most drunken, sacked and dejected. After a recent alcoholic relapse, Nick (Ferrell) ends up without a job and abandoned by his wife, who has changed the house’s locks, frozen his access to their bank account, cancelled his mobile service and thrown all his stuff out onto the lawn. When his officer friend (Pena) stops by and finds that he categorically refuses to leave his lawn, he advises him to hold a yard sale so that he can turn a page in his life and pull himself together.

While Ferrell gives a surprisingly subtle, heartfelt performance, Nick doesn’t really struggle as much as a person in his position should. He adapts to living on the lawn quite easily and seems a bit too comfortable with his new living situation. Also, his addiction to alcohol, while being the reason behind all his problems, doesn’t really seem like much of a stigma. Nick spends most of his time on the lawn chugging beer after beer, and honestly he seems like the kind that can hold his liquor really well, as he has remarkably lucid conversations with his new neighbour Samantha (Hall).

Ferrell’s decision to play Nick as a lucid drunk as opposed to a bumbling lunatic definitely fits more with the film’s melancholy tone and gives it a sense of realism that the story rather lacks, yet it does make his wife’s actions seem over-the-top.

Samantha, who is pregnant, has relocated to Arizona along with her husband who intends to join her as soon as he can. Like Nick, Samantha’s husband also has problems with alcohol, which have led to his demotion at work. Nick sees the couple as a younger version of him and his wife. Through getting to know Samantha, he starts to feel sympathy for her and by extension, for his wife. He gains a healthy appreciation for what his alcohol abuse problems have put her through. Hall’s remarkably expressive face conveys her feelings of revulsion and sympathy for Nick that turn into a type of intimacy once they get to know each other better.

Nick’s improvement shows itself in his relationship with Kenny (Wallace), a smart young kid with too much time on his hands. Nick enlists Kenny’s help in making signs for the yard sale and in actually getting rid of the stuff. At first, Nick refuses to part with anything. However, as time passes and with Kenny’s help, he gladly sells most of his stuff, shedding his old life’s baggage in the form of his junk.

This is a simple, minimalistic film that is melancholic without being melodramatic. However, for a film showcasing such subtle, understated performances, it suffers from an overwrought ending. The whole letting go of his previous life metaphor conveyed in the yard sale arc is tied up with an ending that hammers this same point home, even more as if it wasn’t glaringly obvious the first time round.