Monday, March 19, 2007

Review of "Stranger than Fiction"

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.


The Overfloater said...

Great review, Faker. Sounds like a good thinking movie. I think Will ferrell is trying the transition that Jim Carrey did in the early 2000's. He was always over the top with Ace Ventura and Dumb & Dumber, but was then funny without dumb haircuts or make up in Liar, Liar, then came the Truman Show and Majestic, the awesome Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and this Number 23 business mixed in with campy stuff like Cable Guy, the Riddler in a Batman movie, the Grinch, etc.

Will Ferrell has got the stuff. He makes acting seem so effortless and easy, his character is never even slightly out of whack, despite the choppy way of making movies. In that I mean, the sequencing of shooting calls for the movie to not be chronologically made according to script. He is damn good in nearly every role. I was rolling at Frank the Tank in old School. Loved Ron Burgundy and Ricky Bobby. Elf was fucking funny too. He is definitely one of the brightest stars right now, interesting guy too. A runner and big baseball fan.

And he looks a hell of a lot like the Unruly Jets Fan, you are very correct. The clip he sent me from the Turkey Bowl in the Florham Park Eagle it looks like Will ferrell is chasing Rupert. Too bad the names got reversed in the photo.

Mookie McFly said...

Pretty funny that critics usually hate the movies I least does. I plan on watching it...thanks for the review.

My favorite Will skit on SNL was after 9-11 when he wore the patriotic thong to work. Everyone was totally grossed out but at the same time too weak to actually tell him so...He is a genius. Once on St.Patrick's day he was on Conan and he wore similar speedos (lime green) a green half shirt and a top hat. The audience was so blown away that there was literally no interview or anything. Everyone including Conan just laughed for like ten minutes while Will looked incredulously around like he had no idea why everyone was laughing.

Unruly Jets Fan said...

I am so pissed I didnt see this movie. I actually rented this movie at the hotel the other night in California but I fell asleep right away. All I remember when he was hearing the voices when he was brushing his teeth. I will have to rent it again.

Unruly Jets Fan said...

Do I really look like that guy? The one thing that he and I have in common is our hair. His gets more curly than mine but when our hairs get long they definately blow out like crazy. But do I look like him?

Anonymous said...

Dude, you have to see this movie and yes, you remind me of him. Everything about you reminds me of him. You are him dude.