In the first five minutes, “Stranger Than Fiction” appears to be just another one of Will Ferrell’s outrageous comedies, but the film ultimately develops into a heartwarming tale about love and relationships of all kinds.The film centers around an Internal Revenue Service agent named Harold Crick, played by Ferrell, who discovers that he’s a character in an upcoming book. When his narrator lets it slip that his “imminent death” is looming, Crick sets out to find out what his fate is and who is controlling it.
With the help of his mentor, Dr. Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman, “Meet the Fockers” and “I Heart Huckabees”), Crick finds his author, Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson, “Nanny McPhee” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”) and confronts her about the ending.
In the meantime, Crick falls in love with a rebellious baker named Ana (Maggie Gyllenhaal, “World Trade Center” and “Monster House”), whom he has been auditing. His adoration of Ana serves as the constant motivator to have his literary ending changed.
Although moments of comedy and irony are scattered throughout the script, the film is primarily a love story – and not just about the love of a boy and a girl, but the love the audience begins to feel for Harold Crick.
While the button-down Crick is a far cry from Ferrell’s ridiculous characters in “Old School” or “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” he still manages to deliver a great performance.
His portrayal of Crick is surprisingly heartfelt and meaningful. He transforms Crick from a lonely, average Joe into the ultimate hero: Sweet, endearing and brave.
This film will be a true testament to Ferrell’s fan base – can it stand to see him in a down-to-earth, romantic comedy?
Thompson’s role is far from the norm for her as well, as she plays a chain-smoking, angry, nervous wreck of an author. Thompson’s acting skills have never been showcased so well as in “Fiction.”
With an out-of-the-ordinary script, similar to that of “Adaptation,” and spectacular casting, “Stranger Than Fiction” is thought-provoking, clever and just plain fun to watch.