Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Will Ferrell’s Finest
Will Ferrell. Talk about a comedian that is found at opposite spectrum of people’s top-actors list. Rarely do you get an audience that neither likes nor dislikes Ferrell. Instead, what you generally see is a love or hate relationship with the man. He’s usually a crude, over-the-top actor that picks (what seems to be) the same movie…over and over again. Normally, he really seems to be such a typecast that people can’t stand him anymore. Out of nowhere, though, Ferrell shows us that he can be capable of doing something remarkable, like many comedians before him. Stranger than Fiction is a beautiful example of the hidden talents that Will Ferrell simply chooses to hide.
Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is your typical IRS agent. Routine work is pretty much how you define his character, right down to his daily, slightly OCD out-of-work quirks. It’s when he starts hearing the actual voice of a narrator reciting his life when everything changes. You see, this narrator begins to flip his story around – saying he will be having an imminent death soon. So Crick goes all around town trying to figure out who this voice is in order to stop it. A local professor of literature (Dustin Hoffman) suggests that Harold is either in a comedy or tragedy, and it is up to Harold to find out which one has his name written on it.
This movie is incredibly well-done. It has a story that is still very original, nothing out there that’s really like it. The closest thing I can think of that resembles the plot would be Ruby Sparks, but only one element. The whole mystery surrounding whether Harold is in a comedy or a tragedy makes sense, because the movie is almost written in a way that progresses like a tragedy, but spoken like a comedy. It’s a mix-match, and somehow blends together seamlessly to create something truly unique.
This is the first real role that Will Ferrell was able to show the world that he isn’t limited to only one kind of role. He has said publically that he loves doing the stupid-humor stuff, but if an opportunity presented itself once more to do something like Stranger than Fiction again, he would definitely consider it. You can’t blame a guy for choosing roles that he likes despite the bad reviews for almost anything he does that shows character and it proves that popularity isn’t at the top of actors’ minds all the time. If he is a typecast, he is a typecast out of sheer choice. Just knowing that he has the ability to choose another role like this is enough reason to pay close attention to his career.
From a technical standpoint, the film made great use of foreshadowing, camera angles, lighting, musical score, and computer graphics. It all melded together to the overall feel of the film. The story was brilliant, the dialogue was top of the line, and the acting coming from all directions was fantastic. Everyone worked so well with each other, and had a great chemistry vibe resonating on screen. You can very well tell that these guys were having fun and having a good time while filming.
I have seen it a few times in my life, but one of the major reasons why I watched it this time was not only to review it, but to look for an extra in the middle of the movie. Yes, you heard me correctly, an extra. I won’t name names, for protection of the person to whom I’m referring to, but I know a woman and her daughter who can be seen in the background of a specific (hospital) scene. The woman and her daughter spoke to Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson, and said that Emma Thompson was rude, and Queen Latifah thought this woman had bad mothering skills. This is all not very relevant to the review, but I had to throw that in there, and yes, I did see them in the background.
Every time that I have seen this film I have loved it. Not only is it unique, but it is also compelling, it is funny, it makes you think…it has an effect on everyone watching…and that effect may differ depending on who is in the audience. That is a quality that you want in a movie. That is why I love this film.