I saw Stranger than Fiction Friday...meh.
I really went into this movie not knowing what to expect. From trailers, I'd deem it as "Kaufman light" but from most of the reviews I've read it's supposedly anything but that. Those critics are idiots.
Will Ferrel plays Harold Crick, an IRS drone who goes about his day to day life very methodically with no excitement or suprise. The story starts off introducing us to dull Harold and showing us just how regimented of a man he is. Parts of the movie such as this, which demand no emotional connection between the film and its audience play far better than anything else in the script. Here we see a very nicely paced effort with appropriate direction and sleak visuals. Director Marc Forster (Stay) has been known to only care about how an individual shot looks apart from the whole picture and his selfish visual style is evident here as well. On any scenes demanding emotion, Forster comes up well short, even if he is given a good (not great) performance by Ferrel, he simply doesn't know how to channel any real emotion in a way that at all connects with the audience.
As anyone who's seen the trailer can figure out, Crick soon starts hearing a voice narrating his life and he struggles to find who it is and how this is happening; a problem that becomes even more important to him after he here's the phrase, "little did he know it would result in his imininant death" uttered from his narrators lips. Now we have a race against the pervebial clock scenario that ammuses us in the manner that we, as well as Crick, are unaware of just how much time he has left to live. He enlists the help of literature professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman in full I Heart Huckabee's mode) to help track down his life's author, who turns out to be a prominent author (Emma Thompson)that always kills her main characters.
By the end, rookie screenwriter Zach Helm ends up biting off a bit more than he can chew. Even with some clever moments, there are too many inconsistencies and an apparent lack of overall composition; problems which are not easy to ignore. As the narrator changes her story as Harold's clock ticks down, Hoffman's character has this to say about her final revision, "It's okay. It's not the most important literary work of the past few years, but it's alright...I guess."
To be honest, the movie sets itself for the same fate. As Helm is driven towards a forced happy ending you can't help but feel he too felt mediocrity in his story was acceptable.