Ferrell Takes the Field online movie review - Witness the swell of a comedian's ego with a forgettable documentary on a needless event
Ferrell Takes the Field is little else than a film that showcases the swollen ego of Will Ferrell, as he decides to support the charity of a longtime friend in the most attention-seeking way possible.
In 2015, Ferrell decided that he would play all nine positions for ten Major League Baseball teams during the preseason. He would attend five different games, five different ballparks, and play for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco Giants. The decision comes with the motivation to raise money and awareness for Cancer for College, a charity organization run by Craig Pollard, Ferrell's friend who has suffered from cancer, which works to give cancer-ridden teenagers an opportunity at going to school (they do everything to make it seem like it's not a pity charity). The end result is a tedious forty-eight minutes that has Ferrell playing for an inning or two for a baseball team, getting traded and throwing a fit, playing another inning in a different jersey, and driving or flying to another stadium four more times.
For the forty-eight minutes, all Ferrell does is annoy the audience and the people around him. He comes off as unbelievably cocky and assured, and you can tell even the general reception of the ballplayers is negative, as they are all presumably questioning the purpose of the forty-seven-year-old comedy actor treating a professional organization like it's a recreation of The Sandlot amongst adolescents. The level of interest and excitement can be seen from the dullness of the Oakland Athletics' locker-room upon Ferrell's arrival, as the players look on with confusion and indifference to Ferrell's presence. When Ferrell winds up taking the field, he gets blank stares from both dugouts, and when he winds up costings the Diamondbacks more runs in the game, he gets boos and hisses from the crowd. I can't say I sympathize for him.
Spliced in between footage of Ferrell playing is Ferrell endlessly spouting unfunny monologues about the game of baseball, intended to be satirical and overblown but simply coming off as grating fodder for a documentary, much less an event, that didn't need to happen. He fondly recalls childhood memories of his first Los Angeles Angels game, undoubtedly in a heavily fictionalized manner which just adds to the questionable purpose this documentary serves. If Ferrell isn't going to take the game of baseball seriously, the act of being able to play for ten teams in one day a privilege, and actually offer keen insights and divulge personal details about his relationship with the game, what's the purpose of this entire event?
The only thing I can think of, as I said, is that Ferrell's ego has swollen considerably, to the point where he feels he should etch himself in places and events where he doesn't really belong. In film, he did that a few years back with the woefully unfunny Spanish-telenovela parody Casa De Mi Padre, and now, he decides to give himself unnecessary exposure by parading himself around in the MLB with a move that only seems to aggravate and bewilder those around him. With that, this pamphlet-deep documentary, much like the event itself, is needless, tired, and an unfunny stroll of one of the most forgettable ventures in Major League Baseball of recent memory; even the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox playing a game before a crowd of zero fans in the wake of the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore was more eventful and interesting.
NOTE: Ferrell Takes the Field will air for the entire month of September on HBO.
Directed by: Brian McGinn.