When I first saw the trailer for Stranger Than Fiction, I knew I had to see it. Coming from the perspective of a freelance writer and slowly becoming a bigger fan of Will Ferrell’s work, I was drawn to the very concept of this film. For those who don’t know, Stranger Than Fiction follows the tale of IRS auditor Harold Crick (played by Ferrell, of course). He’s an incredibly dull and boring person, until one day, he suddenly hears a woman’s voice narrating his every action. Later on, he discovers that he is not crazy, as there really is an actual author writing a story about his life. It is only after he finds out that he will die… soon… that he truly starts to live life. It is only then that he stops being indifferent.
Stranger Than Fiction is a heartwarming and charming tale, and you can’t help but melt a little for Will Ferrell’s honest portrayal of a man faced with death. This role is quite a departure from the wild and crazy characters that Will has played in the past. He’s actually subdued, maybe even rigid. But that just makes you empathize with Harold Crick even more. Don’t worry! It’s not nearly as depressing as I’m making it sound!
It’s kind of odd that Jerry Seinfeld’s triumphant return to the limelight would come via an animated film, but that’s exactly what he’s done with Bee Movie. One of my favorite sitcoms of all-time has to be Seinfeld, so it seemed like I would appreciate the kind of humor that would found within Bee Movie. As I expected, the buzzing bee character voiced by Jerry Seinfeld was really just a yellow-and-black version of the comic we’ve come to know and love. He just happens to be a lot smaller. In the end, Bee Movie is one of those strange films that is a little too “adult” for kids — they won’t get many of the jokes and references — while being too “childish” for adults. And it doesn’t straddle this line quite as well as, say, The Simpsons Movie. It’s an admirable effort, but an ultimately forgettable one.
There’s not a doubt in my mind that Juno is the absolute best comedy movie out of three reviewed today. You didn’t get to see much of Ellen Page’s acting ability in X-Men: The Last Stand, but she is absolutely amazing in Juno. She plays a pregnant teenager, but she doesn’t go around saying things like WTF, LOL, and OMG. Instead, Juno MacGruff is sharp-witted, quirky, and intelligent. It’s refreshing to see a character like this, because Juno really is unlike any other teenager portrayed on the silver screen.
That’s not to say that the performances by the rest of the cast aren’t noteworthy. Quite the opposite, actually. Michael Cera’s portrayal of Paulie Bleeker, the geeky runner who (ahem) planted the seed in Juno, overflows with authenticity. Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as Vanessa and Jason Bateman (the prospective adoptive parents of Juno’s child) are very good too. Although I almost got the feeling that Vanessa was up to something, her genuine concern and angst over not being to bear a baby herself really hits the heart.
If you enjoy quirky indie films like Little Miss Sunshine or smarter comedies like The 40 Year Old Virgin, then you will definitely fall in love with Juno. I know I did and I wish Ellen Page the best of luck as she vies for her first Oscar. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Juno could be the first movie that I’ve rated five stars.