Stranger Than Fiction
Time Out says
Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a chronically unassuming taxman with a problem: he’s got a narrator, a voice in his head (Emma Thompson’s, in fact) providing a commentary on his actions, feelings and condition, but inaudible to everyone else, including the feisty but warm-hearted café-owner he’s auditing (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Desperate, he turns to lit crit prof Dustin Hoffman (more or less reprising his ‘Huckabees’ schtick) for advice.
A great idea for a formally playful short stitched to a standard-issue opposites-attract romcom, ‘Stranger than Fiction’ benefits from brisk pacing and engaging performances – especially from an affectingly muted Ferrell, who pulls off a coup comparable to Jim Carrey’s breakout metaphysical stooge role in ‘The Truman Show’. But the film struggles under its increasingly weighty pretensions to literary credibility and even tragic status, stumbling towards an unconvincing and cloying conclusion. Deconstructing fiction is one thing, taping it back together again quite another.
Cast and crew