Will Ferrell is stepping out of his funny man shoes and into the shoes of a boring IRS agent, Harold Crick, living his life by his watch; literally.
In the film “Stranger Than Fiction,” Crick has set times and ways of doing everything obsessively, from brushing his teeth and counting each brush stroke to taking the same ritualistic route to work every morning. He even counts down the seconds of when his work break will end to the time he goes to bed at night: 11:13 p.m. on the dot.
His boring life is turned upside down when he begins to hear a voice narrating every move he makes “in much better vocabulary.” As the voice narrates it reveals that “little does he know, he will face his imminent death.” Confused, angry, and on the brink of insanity, Crick is on a mission to find out what is going on. Is he is going crazy or he is part of some bigger plot?
Crick is definitely a far cry from his character ‘Frank the Tank’ from “Old School,” a perfect example of Ferrell’s over-the-top humor. However, Crick’s character has a more boyish, cute and dry humor. It was hard to warm up to the concept of Ferrell playing a somewhat serious role, but as the film began to progress it becomes easier to appreciate it. It is comparable to what Jim Carrey did by doing “The Truman Show.” The audience was in awe by him playing a serious role. This is Ferrell’s breakout role when it comes to serious acting.
The voice Crick hears is that of Karen Eiffel, played by Emma Thompson. She is a very popular author known for killing off her main characters. She is definitely the downer of the film.
Thompson does a good job portraying a depressed author. Having a hint of writer’s block, her publishing company sends her an assistant, played by Queen Latifah, to help her finish her book by deadline, and in doing so, help find a way to kill off Crick.
Crick, afraid of what his fate holds, seeks advice from Dustin Hoffman’s character, a professor who is a genius in the literary realm. Hoffman soon becomes his friend and the two characters have amazing chemistry with one another. Hoffman delivers some great comedic breaks in an otherwise melancholy film.
Along the way, Crick meets Ana, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, a rebellious baker who he is sent to audit and later falls in love with. The film goes from comedy to tragedy to romance rather quickly. He must set out to find the narrator so he can live out his new, happy way of life and develop his relationship with Ana.
The way Crick finds the author and realizes she’s the voice in his head is rather witty. When he finally faces the author, she is left with having to choose if she is going to kill off Crick and maintain the literary legacy or save Crick and allow him to live, stopping the trend of her past eight books.
The acting was great, although there were some drab scenes that left the audience feeling a little bored. This film is different than any other movie out there. It’s very unique and fresh and a movie that will have you pulling for the main character to succeed. The movie ends and comes together very well, just like a good book.