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Stranger than Fiction
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Emma Thompson
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Web Site: www.strangerthanfiction.com
Kiddie Movie: Keep it for the high-schoolers and above.
Date Movie: It's great for the both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Harold and Ana get it on, but sadly no Ana boob-age.
Gratuitous Violence: One scene.
Action: More suspense than action.
Laughs: There's a lot of laughs.
Memorable Scene: I can't talk about it.
Memorable Quote: Too many quick lines to list.
Directed By: Marc Forster
Produced By: Lindsay Doran

Stranger than Fiction
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 1:53 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
Enough with the male nudity already. There was a lot in "Borat" during my last weekís movie viewing, and then, during "Stranger than Fiction," thereís a scene with Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) and Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) walking through a menís shower, complete with lots of old men butts. Bring back the boobs already! Fine, weíre not here to discuss boobs, so I suppose Iíll just get to the movieÖ

"Stranger than Fiction" gives us Harold Crick as an auditor for the IRS. He is blessed with a mathematical mind, likes to count stairs and tiles, and pretty much lives each workday the same, and Iím assuming his weekends are no different. His life scripted by time, he wakes up at the same time, has the same "getting ready for work" schedule, arrives just in time for his bus, and accepts the fact that no one likes him because, well, as Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the owner of the bakery he is auditing, puts it, he is the "tax man."

But one day his life begins to be thrown into total turmoil as he begins to hear a voice in his head, describing his life as it happens, narrated by Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson). It seems Karen is an author of tragedies, where the hero always dies, only she is suffering from writerís block, namely because she canít figure out how to kill her latest hero. Her latest hero happens to be a character, Harold Crick, who also happens to be an IRS agent, and now Haroldís life is paralleling what Karen is writing. But Karenís voice in Haroldís head is both a blessing and a curse, because as much as it is driving him crazy, it is also causing him to change his mundane life, and begin to live his life knowing, because Karen told him so, that events have been set in motion that would bring about his death.

Harold, though, in trying to figure out what the hell is going on in his head, first sees a couple of psychiatrists who donít seem to understand exactly what Harold is experiencing, and then finally Jules, a literature professor, who takes on Haroldís case if only to find out if Haroldís story will be a comedy or a tragedy. It is actually Julesí analysis that begins to make the most sense, as Jules tries to figure out what author might actually be in Haroldís head, and in the meantime, Harold also falls in love.

Yup, Harold falls for Ann, the bakery dudette he is auditing, and who wouldnít? She is cute as hell, spunky as hell, and has a soft side to make you feel better after a rough day by giving you milk and cookies, and then maybe some hot sex.

As it turns out, Harold eventually figures out it is Karen writing his story, and he now knows that he must track her down to try and stop her from writing his ending.

I will stop my synopsis at this point because from the moment Harold figures out it is Karen Eiffel writing his story, the movie hits a perfect gear that I canít remember unfolding since maybe "The Sixth Sense." Suddenly everything makes sense.

At first I was a little worried about Will Ferrell in the role of Harold Crick because we have gotten so used to getting our funny from Will when he is over-the-top. But "Stranger than Fiction" kinda reminded me of the "Elf" Will Ferrell, where he is just a likeable character who can make us laugh. Sure, there was one "yelling" scene for him, but it worked and didnít distract. And continuing on with great characters, damn, Dustin Hoffman was great as the curious professor, who actually chastises Harold for failing to inform him the narrator in his head had a British accent, Maggie Gyllenhaal was actually adorable, not anything like the character we see in the movie trailer, and even Queen Latifah was good in her role as the assistant brought in by Karenís publisher to help Karen figure out how to kill Harold.

This is an adult-ish comedy which should be okay for the high-schoolerís and those who can accept Will Ferrell in a, hmm, different kind of comedy role, but if you are looking for Will to scream a lot, wait for "Talladega Nights" to come out on DVD in December. Me, Iíve giving "Stranger than Fiction" 4 stars out of 5. I wish I could explain why I didnít give it 5 stars, but that would give away a plot-point I didnít agree with, and it wasnít even the lack of female boob-age.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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