Sony's Stranger than Fiction-This Could've Been Great

Harold Crick isn't ready to go. Period.

Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 fantasy-drama film directed by Marc Forster, written by Zach Helm, produced by Columbia Pictures, Mandate Pictures, and Three Strange Angels, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. The film stars Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards.

"Do you have magical powers?" -Professor Jules Hilbert

Plot


Harold Crick lives a very tidy and organized lifestyle. One day, he begins hearing the voice of a woman in his head and later finds out that he is the main protagonist of the voice's new book. As he lives his life on, he discovers that the author is planning on killing him. He sets out to find her with the help of a literature professor and tries to stop his lethal fate.


Positive Aspects


The first thing is the concept of the film. This is an incredibly interesting concept for a movie, and it is an admittedly good story and idea. The writer came up with a ton of interesting and fun things that Harold Crick experiences throughout the film.


I also think that the acting is good. Will Ferrell has some usual funny moments, and his reaction to being the protagonist of a book is fantastic. Maggie Gyllenhaal is good. She is obviously conflicted about her feelings for Harold Crick. Emma Thompson is absolutely crazy and has some of the funnier moments in the film. Dustin Hoffman, though, is the highlight of the film. He has this weird monotonous performance that feels emotionless and he is fun to watch. He grabs most of the moments that actually make you laugh, not just think "Huh. That was funny.".


Unfortunately, that is all I have for this film.


Negative Aspects


This film just completely wastes its fantastic concept for a film. It goes absolutely nowhere. There is nothing interesting besides the couple of times that the voice tells Harold Crick that Ana Pascal is entering the bus or that he is going to die. Besides the two or three times that it uses that concept for something interesting, everything else is just boring and doesn't do anything. It is so disappointing and annoying that the directors and writers couldn't do something creative with an incredibly creative idea.


The writing is not good. It isn't that funny, and it tries to set up this dramatic and meaningful finale that just falls completely flat. I'll touch on that in a sec, but first is the dialogue. There is just tons of meaningless banter between the characters, specifically between Ana Pascal and Harold Crick as well as between Karen Eiffel and Penny Escher. There are so many things that are said and done that aren't vital to the plot, and it makes the movie so bad and boring.


The ending is a complete and utter failure. Throughout the movie, Harold Crick tries to find out why he is going to die and how, while trying to find the author of his story to tell her that he is a real person and that he will actually die if he publishes her story. When he finally finds her, he reads about how she is planning on killing him. The professor also reads it, and they both say that it is her best work and very important that he dies. They setup a potentially great, emotional, and meaningful ending perfectly.


Then Harold Crick gets hit by a bus. It had nothing to do with the story, it wasn't meaningful at all, and it was just stupid. Sure, he does it to save a kid, but the kid had nothing to do with the story at all. It was actually one of the worst endings to a movie that I think I have ever seen. There was no signs that this had any prominence or foreshadowing, and I absolutely hated it.


The movie is a little bit less than two hours long, but it feels like it is about four hours long. It is incredibly slow-paced and uninteresting. Every time something actually happens, you think "This might get the story moving.", and then it just doesn't. A movie about me writing this review would be more exciting than Stranger than Fiction.


The last thing is the tone. This is supposed to be a lighthearted comedy film, but it feels like it is closer to Joker than it is to Anchorman or Stepbrothers. It has this dark, depressing tone throughout, and it makes the movie even less enjoyable than it already was. This is a sad excuse for a film, and it is really disappointing that this is all that they could do for a great idea.


Final Score


The acting is all that I can say is good about this film. It has a sense of intrigue, but that will suck you into its long, boring abyss.


This film gets a Moldy rating. Age range is 9+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Stranger than Fiction"


Fun Factor: 4.5/10

Acting: 7/10

Story: 2/10

Characters: 3/10

Quality: 4/10


Directed by Marc Forster


Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language, thematic elements, disturbing themes


Released on November 10, 2006


1 hour and 53 minutes


Will Ferrell as Harold Crick

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Ana Pascal

Emma Thompson as Karen Eiffel Queen Latifah as Penny Escher

Dustin Hoffman as Professor Jules Hilbert