I just rented this movie last week and I have to tell you, it was great. I loved it. So did my wife.
For anyone who doesn't know, it is about an IRS Agent named Harold Crick, (Will Ferrell, aka Unruly), (or should I say that it is about his wristwatch), who finds out that he is the main character in a story written by Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) and that he is going to die at the end of the story.
He starts hearing voices when he is going through his normal morning routine, the same one he goes through every day of his life, and the voice is narrating what he is doing throughout the day. While annoying at first, it eventually gets him upset when the voice says that he would soon be facing his "imminent death."
While he hears these voices, he is in the process of auditing a baker by the name of Ana Pascal, (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and starts to have feelings for her.
The voices lead him to seek professional help, by way of Professor Jules Hilbert, played by Dustin Hoffman.
The question remains whether or not Ms. Eiffel can get her book finished as she is going through a major case of writer's block. To that end, an assistant is assigned to her (Queen Latifah's character Penny Escher) to help her finish the book and kill Harold Crick. In the meantime, Harold finally decided to live his life and he realizes that it would be "bad timing" if he were killed at this point.
The story, strange as it may sound, is played out in an almost realistic manner and it really gives Will Ferrell the chance to display his acting chops. Unlike most of his movies, all of the comedy in this one is subdued. He is almost deadpan when delivering most of his punchlines, and it goes to show what a great comedian he truly is. And to be honest, I really like the dramatic scenes as well. I never thought of him as "Ricky Bobby" or Ron Burgandy. He was simply a mild-mannered, lonely IRS Agent.
As for the other characters, I enjoyed them all. Emma Thompson was great and was quite funny throughout the film. The Queen played her part perfectly and she had some great lines as well. I didn't like Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie but he played it perfectly. I understand the motivation for his character, but if you watch the movie you'll see why I didn't like his view of how the story should end. Finally, Maggie Gyllenhaal was good as the love interest. I don't know why she bothers me, but she was good enough in this movie. The relationship between Harold and Ana is sweet because of Harold, not her.
Regardless, I really liked the story and the ending was great. And the message, which was basically that you should live your life and not let it pass you by, was given in an understated but enlightening manner.
This film is an "A" and definitely worth seeing. The DVD has some okay extras as well.