Maybe it’s something about the primitive setting (or the even more primitive script), but Will Ferrell lets his bumptiously, merrily masochistic id hang out in Land of the Lost. As Dr. Rick Marshall, a crackpot scientist who gets pulled into an alternate universe of dinosaurs, rubbery goggle-eyed lizard creatures, and apes who look like men in matted Isaac Mizrahi sweaters, Ferrell shrieks in terror like a teenage girl on a roller-coaster ride, and at one point he splatters himself with dino urine. When that stings his eyes, he tries to ease the pain by splattering on more. (It doesn’t work.) A giant mosquito sucks the blood right out of him, and an ongoing battle with a T. rex turns into a kind of 12-step test of our hero’s self-esteem, which is roughly a notch below Stuart Smalley’s.
You get the feeling that Ferrell is working this hard to beat himself up because Land of the Lost, a movie based on one of the cheesiest ’70s Saturday-morning kids’ shows ever devised, is anything-goes junk. The film’s only conviction is its investment in its total lack of conviction. With three sidekicks to play off — Danny McBride as a good-ol’-boy survivalist, Anna Friel as an eye-candy science groupie, and Jorma Taccone as Chaka, the nattering, boy-faced ape-man — Ferrell ricochets from one pouty-angry sissy-man routine to the next. He even drops a bitchy F-bomb, which more or less signals the desperation of this grab-bag kiddie fantasy. Land of the Lost has stray amusing ?tidbits, but overall it leaves you feeling splattered. C