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Review: Thin 'Between Two Ferns' movie still scores big laughs

Zach Galifianakis brings his internet talk show to feature length with Netflix movie

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

In the same way that "Between Two Ferns" is barely a talk show, "Between Two Ferns: The Movie" is barely a movie. 

But that's the joke, and there are enough big laughs packed into this scattershot adventure — structured around Zach Galifianakis' painfully awkward celebrity sit-downs — to warrant a viewing.

Zach Galifianakis in "Between Two Ferns: The Movie."

The plot, as it were, is inane. Galifianakis plays a version of himself, the host of a public access celebrity talk show that beams out of a small studio in Flinch, N.C.

After a piping accident kills one of his guests — we won't say who, alright alright alright — Will Ferrell, as his click-obsessed boss at Funny or Die, gives Galifianakis two weeks to go on the road and film 10 episodes of his series, promising him his own network talk show if he completes the task.

So he hits the road and starts scoring interviews, which is the film's reason for being. And just as he has for the last 10 years on "Between Two Ferns," Galifianakis lands perfectly parsed deadpan zingers on this guests (to Chance the Rapper: "you're friends with Kanye West. That's the joke"), and sits back as guests recoil in horror. 

David Letterman, Paul Rudd, John Legend, Jon Hamm, Tessa Thompson and Peter Dinklage are among those on the receiving end of Galifianakis' barbs; he fumbles around with Benedict Cumberbatch's name before finally landing on "Benefit Lumberjacks."

And yes, the celebs are in on the gag; a blooper reel that rolls during the credits pulls back the curtain on Galifianakis' process. The guests usually hold it together better than Galifianakis, which is more of a revelation than one would have expected from a project that's essentially a goof-off, albeit an oftentimes hilarious one.  

'Between Two Ferns: The Movie'


Rated TV-MA: Language

Running time: 82 minutes

On Netflix