Fame and Secondhand Embarrassment: A Recipe for Success
By Betsy Brossman
If you find pleasure in plants and questionable morals, “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” starring Zach Galifianakis and many other notable celebrities is the perfect film for your next night in. This unique talk show began as an internet series in 2008 and also took its turn on Comedy Central. It then was transformed into a full-length movie that appeared on Netflix this September.
The creation is a mockumentary, as all of the celebrities that appear are referred to as their real names. Comedian Zach Galifianakis sits down, ironically between two large ferns, and fires off a myriad of hilariously insulting questions as the celebrities stumble over how to respond to his stone cold demeanor. There is a quite emotional plot, though. Zach is dead set on one day receiving his own late-night talk show, with his three crew members alongside. Will Ferrell (yes, that Will Ferrell) promises Zach and his crew that if they can create ten episodes with ten different celebrities all on their own and drop the tapes off to him in LA, Zach will finally achieve his dream of getting his own show. Zach and the three crew members set off on a cross-country adventure from North Carolina to California, in the attempt to find just ten celebrities who will succumb to talking between the ferns.
Along the way, the crew stumbles through many of the interviews. The cameramen and assistant are forced to sit through agonizingly awkward conversations spearheaded by Zach on and off camera. Although wildly funny for those not at the brunt of the joke, many of the questions asked have absolutely nothing to do with the career of the celebrity. For example, the first interviewed celebrity is Matthew McConaughey. “I notice that you’re wearing a shirt. Is everything okay?” asks Galifianakis sarcastically. The funniest part of this scene, and entire movie, is the lack of background music to accompany the uncomfortable pauses. When a celebrity feels insulted, there is an astounding silence, aside from the pits of laughter that are most likely occurring from the human setting in front of the Netflix screen.
During the first interview with McConaughey, a quite distracting drip is heard dropping from the ceiling into a bucket placed directly in the camera’s line of sight. Zach assures McConaughey that they will edit out the drip in post-production, but it still drones on throughout the interview. Not to spoil any moments, but shall we say the talk goes quite… swimmingly.
The sheer amount of celebrity appearances in this film alone are enough to attract a wide range of viewers. Everyone from Peter Dinklage to Phoebe Bridgers has their minute of fame, each probably accompanied by a rude burn by Galifianakis. One of the most awkward scenes in the film, though, occurs with none other than supermodel Chrissy Teigen. Zach and his team run into Teigen in a bar alone, and she somehow seduces him into going up into her hotel room. Zach forgets that he told his crew to never stop filming, so the entire night is all on tape, eventually seen by John Legend, Teigen’s husband.
All in all, this movie is criticized by some for being too similar to the internet show, but if you enjoyed the internet show or have never seen it at all, this is definitely a film that could brighten up the stress that comes along with being an overinvolved college student. Put away that Philosophical Ethics homework for an hour and 22 minutes and treat yourself to a laugh with some of Hollywood’s top names.