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November 17, 2006     Cape Gazette
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November 17, 2006

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II n iiiiiiiii CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, November 17 - Monday, November 20, 2006 - 119 Will Ferrell perfectly cast in 'Stranger Than Fiction' By Rob Rector auditor Harold Crick ig actually same compassionate zaniness he exists in the world of cinema, also Movie Rq00view Special to the Cape.Gazette A humble film reviewer named Rob Rector sat at his home com- puter one evening to attempt to put into words his feelings of a new comedy he had just reviewed. A bottle of top-shelf malt whiskey was placed on a stack of crisp $1,000 bills to his left, his nightie- clad wife seductively whispering in his right ear, urging him to finish so that they can watch television on his 120-inch projection television, located in the home theater of their palatial ocean-front estate. Damn. Nothing. Sorry, I was just testing the premise of "Stranger Than Fiction," in which an author dic- tates the life of an unassuming IRS agent. Unfortunately, the book she is currently working on may not have its protagonist living happily ever after. The reality-twisting romantic comedy is the perfect gateway for meta-movie neophytes still scared to dive into the deeper cerebral works that flow from the pen of Charlie Kauffman ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Adaptation," and "Being John Malkovich"), and yet still stands proudly on its own as a thoroughly engaging tale of finding yourself and taking control of your own des- tiny. Will Ferrell is as subtly restrained as he was brashly obnox- ious in this summer's "Talledega Nights," and, quite frankly, he's perfectly cast, Though many com- parisons will be made to Jim Carrey's serio-comic stab in the thematically similar "The Truman Show," Ferrell, as buttoned-up Will Ferrell stars in "Stranger Than Fiction." Movies Continued from page 118 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Captain Jack Sparrow is caught up in another tangled wb of supernatural intrigue. Although the curse of the Black Pearl has been lifted, an even more terrifying threat looms over its captain and scurvy crew: it turns out that Jack owes a blood debt to the legendary Davy Jones, Ruler of the Ocean Depths, who captains the ghostly Flying Dutchman, which no other ship can match in speed and stealth. Rated PG- 13. play professional football was going to be found this way. Certainly no one like Papale - a down-on-his-luck, 30 year-old, substitute teacher and part-time bartender who never even played college football. Rated PG. School For Scoundrels: Roger is a beleaguered New York City meter maid who is plagued by anxiety and low self-esteem. In order to overcome his feelings of inadequacy, Roger enrolls in a top-secret confidence-building Man of the Year: Acerbic per- former Tom Dobbs has made his career out of skeweringpoliticians and speaking the mind of the exas- perated nation on his talk show. He cracked scathing jokes at a fractured system night after night - until he came up with a really funny idea: why not run for presi- dent himself?. Rated R. Invincible: When the coach of Vince Papale's beloved hometown football team hosted an unprece- dented open tryout, the public consensus was that it was a waste of time - no one good enough to more believable and sincere. It almost makes you forgive "Bewitched." Emma Thompson plays the chain-smoking, hermetic author Karen Eiffel, who just can't seem to finish her decade-in-the-works latest novel about a buttoned-up auditor named Harold Crick. Harold goes through his days affixing numbers to the most innocuous actions of his life - the measurements of hand soap left in the public restroom dispenser, the inches he slides a coffee cup. We are told of the utter monotony of Harold's life by use of an on-screen narrator in a lovely, luxurious British accent. Unfortunately for Harold, he hears the same thing. It is troubling to him, but being ever so passive, he just occasionally swats at it likea bothersome mos- quito. That is, until one day, the narrator alludes to Harold's untimely demise. It could not hap- pen at a worse time, either. For one of his assigned accounts happens to be Ana Pascal (played with cheek- pinching purity by Maggie Gyllenhaal), a baker who deliber- ately dodges her taxes as an act of defiance to the system, and who also happens to be smoking hot. Harold is immediately smitten with this cherubic chef and begins to see life outside his cubicle. Desperate to "rewrite" his life, Harold enlists the help of a quirky literature professor (played by Dustin Hoffman, channeling the class taught by the suavely under- handed Dr. P. Rated PG-13. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: It's 1969. The conflict in Viet Nam has exploded to immeasura- ble proportions, and 18-year-old Dean Hill's number is up. Dean's brother Eric, who has already seen his share of combat, plans to take Dean to enlist in his beloved Marine Corps in hopes of keeping an eye on him rather than letting him take his chances at the local induction center. Rated R. T 114UAll00'00T&Xl l'edr00e00dalt,- 1/2 Price l[r00tr00e$ 00[re Baekl! $2 00,orona & doro00a IJite brought to his role as an existential detective in "I Heart Huckabees,") who scours his knowledge of previ- ously written works to get to the root of Harold's mania. The film, directed by Marc Foreter ("Finding Neverland," "Monster's Ball") is filled with moments of tenderness, intimacy and a general warmth for its char- acters. And though his film is obvi- ously a fairy tale, he still manages to keep things grounded in reality. Ferrell, who is prone to stripping to his tighty whities and unabashedly prancing around on screen, has created his most engag- ing on-screen character to date. The audience, too, follows his every move, hoping that he can somehow change his own predestined con- clusion. Geeky Harold's romance with Gyllenhaal's hip Ana, one that only feels honest and true. The film looks like it may be overlooked by audiences, hoping to see Ferrell get nutty as Steve Martin did years ago when his body was inhabited by Lily Tomlin in "All of Me." But they will be missing one of the most original mainstream romantic comedies of the year. And so, the reviewer closed his thesaurus, ran spell check, and con- cluded his musings of "Stranger Than Fiction," but, little did he know, that when he typed his last period, the phone would ring and he would be informed of the fortu- itous check awarded him by the Publisher's Clearing House ent/-y he had made only months prior. Damn. Read more of Rector's reviews on his website "Use Soap" at http ://mysite. 113. 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