Monday, March 12, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Ficton (2006)

As a novelist (Emma Thompson) struggles with how to kill off her main character, IRS auditor Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) begins hearing her narration in his head and realizes he must prevent his own death. Crick's world turns upside down, and it's a life-or-death situation as he tries to persuade best-selling author Kay Eiffel to change the ending of her novel. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Queen Latifah lead the fine supporting cast.
My Two Cents: Ferrell's distracting attempt to play it straight in no way detracts from the clever premise and mostly well-written story.

NetFlix Rank: Really Liked It
IMDB Rank: 8/10

Further thoughts:

This was supposed to do for Ferrell what The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind did for Jim Carrey, right? Nah, not really, but it's not a disasterous performance either. It's not that he's incapable of not playing a goofball, but it seemed forced here.

The story-within-a-story, on the other hand, did not feel forced. In fact, it manages to take every perfect turn, which isn't always the case with meta-fiction. And when it gets to the ending that seems impossible to nail, it nails it.

Perhaps most refreshing is that while it scratches the surface of "determinism v. free will," Fiction doesn't bog itself down in the kind of pseudo-intellectual meanderings that could often add meaning at the expense of pretense.


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