'Stranger than Fiction' reviewed | The Moviegoer

Thursday, November 9, 2006

'Stranger than Fiction' reviewed

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2006 at 5:12 PM

Dana Stevens, Slate.com
This role is for Will Ferrell what the lead in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was for Jim Carrey: a chance to dial back the comic shtick and play a quiet, reserved schlemiel who blossoms under the tutelage of a kooky sweetheart. Stranger Than Fiction is no Eternal Sunshine. But if you can look past its clunky attempt to be exactly that, there's great pleasure in watching Ferrell, like Harold, turn into someone you never knew he could be.

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
This is a Ferrell you've never seen before, nailing a role that calls for breakneck humor in the final race against the clock and touching gravity in the love scenes with Gyllenhaal. The moment in which Ana teaches Harold the joy of milk and cookies is a small gem. You can say the same thing about the movie, which pulls you in even when it trips on its grander ambitions as a meditation on life, death and taxes.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Yet there's no denying the movie has a surface allure. The director, Marc Forster (Finding Neverland ), shoots Zach Helm's Kaufman Lite script in candy colors and at vivid angles, and he gets infectious performances out of Maggie Gyllenhaalas the testy-adorable ''progressive'' bakery owner who lures Harold from his shell; DustinHoffman as the jovial academic who helps him crack the mystery of the narrator; and Thompson, who makes the frazzled, chain-smoking author the most passionate presence in the movie. As for Ferrell, he gets points for taking a chance, but the next time he goes serious, he should try to do it in a movie that allows him to stay true to the excitable inner life that made him a star.

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