Sunday, October 22, 2006

STRANGER THAN FICTION - Charlie Kaufman-lite but enjoyable nonetheless

Finally, I hunkered down in the Odeon for STRANGER THAN FICTION, which bites the ass of Charlie Kaufman and Woody Allen rather obviously, but is a rather sweet romantic tragi-comedy nonetheless. For the movie is at heart a sweet (if obvious) love story between Will Ferrell's buttoned-down IRS auditor and Maggie Gyllenhaal's bohemian baker. I haven't seen Will Ferrell give such a quiet, sensitive performance before - he's truly a joy to watch and convinces as this odd-ball leading man. The fly in the ointment is that Will Ferrell's character keeps hearing voices. Or specifically A voice - the voice of an English female author who is narrating his life and alerts him to the fact that he is about to die. With the help of Dustin Hoffman's whacky literary theory professor, Ferrell manages to track down the reclusive author who is, naturally, somewhat shocked to find her main character standing in front of her. Emma Thompson excels in this role of the straight-talking decent author who can either kill a man and create a work of art or settle for the okay novel with the happy ending. In this choice, she is aided by Queen Latifah who is utterly wasted in a small role.

STRANGER THAN FICTION is consistently irritating, with it's smarter-than-smart CGI graphic effects that echo the IKEA-condo scene in FIGHT CLUB but less good. In fact, the whole post-modern storyline is just Less Good than all the movies that have gone before it. For this I suppose we should blame the script-writer, Zach Helm and director Marc Forster (of FINDING NEVERLAND and MONSTER'S BALL fame). But the movie somehow triumphs over all of this because it has a fantastic cast and, pretentious bull-shit aside, a very lovely story at its heart. As I said, I have never seen Will Ferrell so convincing as he is here. Sure he'e funny - but it's unintentional deadpan funny, which is, actually a lot funnier than TALLADEGA NIGHTS.

STRANGER THAN FICTION played Toronto and London 2006. It opens in the US on November 10th and in the UK, Brazil, Argentina, Iceland, Finland and Sweden in December 2006. It opens in Australia, France, the Netherlands and Belgium in January and in Estonia, Germany, Austria and Portugal in February. It opens in Slovakia in May 2007.

1 comment:

  1. Stranger Than Fiction is a very interesting movie. It actually is a really funny but romantic tragi-comedy. It is a very unique plot where the most ordinary person in the world that has no social life is actually the main character for a nobel that depends on whether kill Ferrell's or let him live.