Adam McKay‘s The Big Short (Paramount, 12.11) screens tonight at AFI Fest — a big moment for Paramount and potentially an even bigger moment for presumed Best Actor contender Steve Carell…maybe. But this featurette is a little too generic, and I’m not sure what I feel about a director who always wears a scarf, which to me is like a director in the ’50s or ’60s wearing a beret and an ascot. If you ask me Paramount should have put out a featurette that answers The Big Adam McKay Question, to wit: how did a comedy director whose whole career since the turn of the century has been more or less about directing or producing low-rent Will Ferrell movies (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, Land of the Lost, The Campaign, Casa De Mi Padre, Get Hard) suddenly spins around and directs an allegedly smart, fully-grounded drama (dramedy?) about the collapse of the American economy? Due credit and huzzahs if The Big Short turns out to be as good as some are claiming, but how did McKay’s transition suddenly come about? McKay to Paramount: “Hey, I know I’ve been making comedies for popcorn-munchers for the last 12 or 13 years but I’d like to upgrade my stock by directing something a little sharper and darker and more real-world adult…okay?”