Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction - Movie Review

Will Farrell is Harold Crick, an IRS agent that hears the voice of a writer Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) narrating his life and telling the tale about his immenent death. Queen Latifah is Karen's assistance sent by the publishers to speed up her 10 year long writing process, and Dustin Hoffman is a literature professor Harold seeks out to help him figure out why he's hearing this narrator and if she in fact exists for real (which we know, she does), and Maggie Gyllenhaal is Ana Pascal, a baker who Harold must audit (and of course, fall in love together with).

The premise of this movie written by Zach Helm (wonderkid? Or lucky to have rich connected parents?) sounded great, and Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball) directs the A+ cast in this cute movie that almost becomes extremely moving, until it ultimately writes itself into a corner and isn't brave enough to de-Hollywoodize itself out of the corner, and finally deflates at the last moment. Otherwise, it would been brilliant, much like the book Karen writes about Harold Crick called "Death and Taxes". Sadly, like the book within the movie, Stranger Than Fiction happily settles for mediocrity instead of being a masterpiece all in the pursuit of a happy ending. How Meta.

8/10 or B


Liz said...

Ha, good point about the meta-ness. Although I have to admit, I'm a shameful sucker for happy endings, and when it looked like it was going to end up in the other direction, I was like, "What the hell? That's not cool! You can't do that in a comedy!" Yeah, I suck. As did the actual ending, I'll admit. But I did like the movie in general--some very funny moments.

vance said...

Yeah, to be honest, I realised that they wrote themselves into a corner. Either they kill him and its depressing but cathartic in a way, or he lives, but there had to be some amazing brilliant way to let him live and I don't think what Zach Helm wrote was it. I almost thought the boy on the bike would be a future president or something like that, although that's kinda lame too (and was done better in Jack & Bobby). Still, it was a cute movie that I enjoyed, just not the brilliant 10 that I would have hoped for.

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