Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

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IRS auditor Harold Crick discovers that he is the leading character of a novel in progress written by an author who is famous for killing off her heroes.

I was quite taken with the concept behind this film; enough for me to get past the presence of Will Ferrell, an actor I usually detest. The beginning of the film lived up to my leap of faith, presenting what seemed to be a clever, literary story in the vein of Charlie Kaufman’s work, complete with some nice Eternal Sunshine-style visual flourishes. Unfortunately it falters halfway through as the rather appealing Maggie Gyllenhaal’s anti-establishment hippy baker falls into bed with the anally retentive-to-the-point-of-Assberger’s Ferrell, a man she previously loathed and represents everything about modern society she hates. Just because he gave her some flour and sang a song. In other words, it becomes the usual kind of absurdly contrived feelgood rom-com that I avoid like the plague. It continues the surreal element of the story in that the written word becomes reality, but it’s never explained or even explored, preferring a glib happy ending; any film that describes its own plot as a modern masterpiece needs to do a hell of a lot better than that.

The one revelation about this film is the fact that I find Ferrell a lot funnier when he’s not trying to be funny and I hope he continues in this vein in the future.

5/10

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