To Matthew McConaughey: “All right, all right, all right. Sorry, I was just reading the box office returns for your last three movies…Of all the things you can win an Oscar for, how surprised are you that you won one for acting?” 

Aesthetically speaking, Between Two Ferns: The Movie isn’t much to look at. But on the page, Netflix’s newest film is a beaut.

Ferns, unlike many of the ill-fated Saturday Night Live movies, manages to maintain most of the charm of the Funny or Die internet talk show that spawned it (albeit with a little less star power). Brief, breezy and peppered with laugh-out-loud jokes, Ferns is a clever fake documentary about a fake television show hosted by the fake version of Galifianakis. In the tradition of faux-interview characters like Martin Short’s Hollywood hack Jiminy Glick and Sasha Baron Cohen’s Ali G.,  Galifianakis is a clueless boob with an over-inflated ego, a non-existent social filter and a knack for asking the most inappropriate and offensive questions to his celebrity subjects.

To Keanu Reeves: “On a scale of 1 to 100, how many words do you know?”

While no one is going to confuse Ferns for Oscar bait, the comedy is going to please fans of the comedy skit — largely because the movie doesn’t try to be much more than that. Galifianakis is playing a hapless version of himself, asking his trademark offensive questions in his trademark stilted, deadpan manner.

To Brie Larson: “I’ve read online that you’re very private and decline to answer questions that make you feel uncomfortable. This is a two-parter: Is that true, and how old were you when you got your first period?”

The premise of Ferns has Funny or Die co-creator Will Ferrell demanding 10 new episodes from Galifianakis in just two weeks. If Zach can deliver on the mission, he will get his own late-night talk show on the Lifetime network. And with that, the 82-minute movie is off on a cross-country road trip.

To a heavily-bearded David Letterman: My guest today is Santa Claus with an eating disorder…Did you just wake up from a 15-year nap?

From The Larry Sanders Show to Curb Your Enthusiasm to Episodes, the improv-friendly showbiz parody has been a rich source of comedic material, and Ferns is filled with hilariously awkward moments with his guests (who were not prepped for their scenes). During a stop in Kansas, we meet a down-on-his-luck Jon Hamm doing a seven-hour autograph session.

To Jon Hamm: “Bradley Cooper co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in A Star is Born. Are you hoping that will open doors for other hot idiots?”

Even with a running time barely longer than a TV drama, Fern loses a bit of steam in the third act, when the interview segments take a back seat to the resolution of that plot about Zach and the gang racing the clock to deliver the completed episodes.

Still, the plotline serves its real purpose — as a launching point to showcase a new series of interviews featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities squaring off against the greatest public-access talk show host in southeast North Carolina (Galifianakis’ real home state).

If you’re a fan of Fern‘s internet show, you’ll probably like the movie, directed by Galifianakis collaborator Scott Aukerman, who also wrote the screenplay. Aukerman cannily avoids the pitfall of SNL comedies by not freighting the film with sluggish, clunky side plots and romances. Instead, he focuses on watching Galifianakis tweak and abuse celebrities to their faces in the guise of interviewing them.

To Benedict Cumberbatch: You once said you’re your own worst critic. So you haven’t read any of your reviews? If you didn’t have an accent do you think people would be able to tell that you’re not a very good actor?

Decked in his cheap blazer, well-worn sneakers and clutching his cue cards, Galifianakis is a treat every time his show airs. He mauls names, mistakes movies and barely hides his contempt for stars more successful than he. Galifianakis asks the questions we’d all like red carpet reporters to ask, and the celebrity deadpan reactions are all the comedic punch the film needs. Galifianakis’ playfully skewers, but never punctures, the Hollywood PR machine.

That’s the whole movie — a tuft of concocted fluff that never asks to be taken too seriously, and that allows Galifianakis to artfully oscillate between idiocy and ire. Some interviews draw such laughter you’re not sure if the stars are acting or truly cracking up (and the gag-reel scene at the end of the movie suggest they often weren’t acting).

To Peter Dinklage: “Dinklage. Is that an STD? Why did you keep your real name? Galifianakis is a stage name. My real name is Chad Farthouse.”

Ferns flourishes in the awkward.  At its best, the humor can still draw a small drop of sardonic blood. It essentially plays like a Comedy Central Roast, served up in three-to six-minute nuggets. And Galifianakis is the perfect anti-fawner for celebrity chats. His passive-aggressive disaffection keeps everyone, including the audience, off guard. Galifianakis remains the Gen-X poster boy for arrested development; he has an acerbic affection for pop culture that somehow feels both feels both sarcastic and sincere.

To Hailee Steinfeld: “You were in Pitch Perfect 2 and 3. Do you ever wish you had been in the good one?”

That’s the community that Ferns celebrates; a shallow, harmless community. Lauren Lapkus is a standout as Zach’s assistant, Carol Hunch. And the film is filled with stars clearly enjoying the teasing. It may be a sliver of a film, but it’s an unexpectedly entertaining shard.