If you give Between Two Ferns: The Movie a negative review or think this movie is stupid, you shouldn’t be reviewing the movie or watching comedy ever again. It's not for you. Comedy is a genre hard to crack and Between Two Ferns: The Movie hilariously hits every comedic note and demographic possible — the dry, the witty, the inappropriate, the slack-jawing, the slapstick, the goofy, and the physical. We laugh at the inappropriate questions Zach Galifianakis (who parodies himself) asks at the actor's expense, and that’s the whole point. It's a wildfire of brilliant jokes that will make you laugh until you’re dead.
If you haven’t seen any Between Two Ferns skits, stop reading and watch some of these skits, so you know what you’re in for.
In this feature installment, in between Between Two, Ferns is a mockumentary. Galifianakis is tired of just being an internet show, which is owned by Funny or Die titan, Will Ferrell (who also parodies himself and turns it up to 11). Ferrell doesn’t see that Galifianakis is asking tasteless questions, he believes the people he interviews are just laughing at him, and that gets the site hits, which gets Ferrell loads of cash, cocaine, and purple hats. Galifianakis strikes a steal with Ferrell — do ten more internet interviews with famous people, and he’ll give Galifianakis his own show on the Lifetime Network.
So on the road, he goes.
I wasn’t going to write a review for Between Two Ferns: The Movie until I saw the critic complaints, which are all the same — the only funny parts are the skits where Zach interviews people. Sure, the mockumentary part isn’t ultra-funny, but writers Galifianakis and Scott Aukerman, who’s worked with Zach on the internet series since its inception and makes his directorial debut with this film, make going in between Between Two Ferns as funny as possible creating a feature film about an internet sketch. Sure, these parts drag a little, but it’s lazy and a cop-out to give the film a negative review and then praise a majority of the film — the skits.
With him, Galifianakis takes his assistant (played by the highly hilarious and talented Lauren Lapkus. who is going to blow up any day now) and a “documentary crew” — one of them is cameraman Cam, played by Ryan Gaul, who you may recognize from Superstore or The Last O.G. Before they take off, we meet a guy who owes Galifianakis two boxes of Hamburger Helper and the head of the network, played by Edi Patterson (Vice Principals, The Righteous Gemstones), a comedian who kills every joke she goes for and steals every scene she’s in. Put her in every comedy, and I’m happy.
So off Galifianakis and his crew go to get those ten interviews so he can achieve his dream of having his own talk show. Between Two Ferns: The Movie has a simple plot (which all it needs to give this a feature-length film) filled with laughs and a ridiculous, witty, and farce screenplay (if you caught the Richard Kelly joke, we are meant to be best friends).
Think about this: Between Between Two Ferns is Galifianakis playing a parody of himself as an internet interviewer that Will Ferrell (also parodying himself) discovered who has huge celebrities on his show (one including our 44th president, Barack Obama), and he asks the most inappropriate, uncomfortable questions to make us laugh. The talent being interviewed and almost always Galifianakis takes punishing questions so we can laugh. At first, I thought all the questions were scripted, but the end-credit gag reels makes it clear that the actors have no idea what Zach is going to ask or say, which makes it even funnier and the guest on the Between Two Ferns so much cooler. Bringing in some of the biggest names in Hollywood is quite impressive. This movie and the online skits show how much fun Hollywood can be — that’s the whole point. The questions Galifianakis asks as his fake character is insanely inappropriate and he actors allow it just so the audience can laugh. They all have my respect. That says a lot about how well-liked Galifianakis and Ferrell are, and just how far the talent we’ve seen in these skits are willing to go to be the butt of the joke so that you can laugh and gasp at the same time. Between Two Ferns is a riot of comedic chaos and I cackled so hard I’m pretty sure I injured myself laughing.
I Interviewed Zach in 2011 for a movie and inadvertently had my own Two Ferns with him, and we discuss his brother who’s living under an RV, and why he didn’t win an Oscar (or even get nominated!) for his unique and brilliant role in Out Cold.