Stranger Than Fiction
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2

Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Emma Thompson. Comedy. Written by Zach Helm. Directed by Marc Forster.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an IRS agent whose world is turned upside down when he begins to hear his life being chronicled by a narrator only he can hear. The Narrator (Emma Thompson) is struggling to complete her latest and best book, unaware that her protagonist is alive and uncontrollably guided by her words. Fiction and reality collide when the bewildered Harold hears the Narrator say that events have been set in motion that will lead to his imminent death.

Harold seeks help from an eccentric professor (Dustin Hoffman) and finds comfort in a burgeoning romance with a defiant audit subject (Maggie Gyllenhaal), as the Narrator gets assistance from Penny Escher (Queen Latifah) to hurry her book along.

PREVIEW REVIEW: There are now two styles of Will Ferrell movies: comedies where he runs around in at least one scene dressed only in baggy underwear and comedies where he doesnt (those being in the minority). Stranger Than Fiction is an example of the latter.

Mostly satisfying, thanks to the engaging performances, but the idea, though clever, strains that portion of our brain that must suspend disbelief. It does produce funny moments and a sensitive scene or two, and it is nice to see a comedy sans anatomical and scatological humor, a mainstay in todays ha-ha releases, but that said, the film falls short in whatever philosophical profundity may be hidden beneath its Twilight Zone-ish otherworldliness. True, no one seeks movies with a deep message, but its always nice when a clever film also bears meaning. About the best lessons here are that opposites attract and a good man should be recognized. Okay, Ill give you those are pretty good reminders, but anything of a spiritual nature is either too well hidden or, what I suspect, never approached. Whats more, many Christians will find the inclusion of Gods name followed by a curse from the films otherwise placid hero irreverent and off-putting. Why is it that nearly all films from this generation contain some form of disbelief or disrespect for the Creator?

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of crude jokes and men are seen in a restroom, nothing graphic is shown. In one scene, for some inexplicable reason, the hero uses a container to urinate in rather than get off the couch and leave the TV for a second. Later we see the half filled container.
Obscene Language: Three obscenities, one being the f-word. Three minor expletives (damns).
Profanity: Two profane uses of Gods name, one by the films lead.
Violence: Two jolting scenes, one concerning a man injured by a bus. In the film, the author imagines different deaths that she might have her storys hero succumb to. At first we think she is considering suicide, but she is just acting out a scene for her book.
Sexual Intercourse: One sex scene by two people on a first date. It is more suggested than graphic.
Nudity: Backsides of several elderly men in a health club shower. Brief and played for laughs.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some social drinking and the writer is constantly with cigarette in hand. It is however not attempting to glorify smoking.
Other: None
Running Time: 113 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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