Sometimes trailers are a big boost for a film and sometimes they are a curse. In the case of this film it would be the latter case. The trailers I saw for the film seem to market it as another one of Will Ferrell's zany comedies; this could not be further from the truth. If anything it is a black comedy with some fairly poignant moments. Don't get me wrong, there is some comedy or funny moments in the film, but it is definitely not nor was it intended to be a knee slapper.
How the story takes the idea of the fictional world intersecting with the real world is pushed quite far in this film. The film leads us to question our ideas about the importance of the individual in our society, fate, time, and choices that humans make in life. If our lives are like a script or a novel that have already been written can we change the outcome? Hmmm…deep stuff for a film we thought to be just another comedy. The themes of the film are illustrated successfully because of the talented cast and good direction. Will Ferrell in films like this and his turn with Woody Allen shows that he is an actor of range. Like Jim Carrey before him, Ferrell shows that he can carry off playing a non-comedic character. In other words, the man can act. We all know how talented Emma Thompson is. She brings believability and intelligence to every character she takes on. This is no exception. We only have to question why she does not do more films. Director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball) knows how to wring every bit of talent out of his actors and emotion out of his scenes. He has shown a talent for making 'small' films that have a lot to say. The film is a success in taking a fairly out there idea and making it believable and meaningful for the viewer.
Harold Crick (Will Ferrell – Old School, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) is an IRS agent with a dull and routine filled life. His life is ruled by numbers, whether it be amounts on the income tax statements he evaluates, the number of toothbrush strokes he counts every morning while brushing his teeth or numbers on his watch. Everything is done the same way everyday and time has been calculated down to the second. Interestingly enough the most important number in his life is the number 1 as Harold is essentially all alone in life. He has no real friends, no wife not even a budgie to keep him company. Nothing is out of the ordinary for Harold until one morning while brushing his teeth he starts to hear a female voice with a British accent describe his every movement in detail. At first he thinks that there is someone in his apartment when he figures out there isn't, then he starts asking random people if they can hear the voices he does and when they can't he begins to question his own sanity. After consulting with a psychiatrist, who believes that Harold is schizophrenic, he goes to an expert in literature to find out about the narrative he is hearing in his head. Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman – Rain Man, Meet the Fockers) works with Harold to try and determine what type of narrative he is a part of, comedy or tragedy, and who is writing it.
Simultaneously we meet Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson – Nanny McPhee, Sense and Sensibility), a writer who is suffering through an incredible bout of writer's block. It has become so desperate that her publisher has sent Penny Escher (Queen Latifah – Chicago, Set It Off) to work as her assistant. Kay's writer's block has to do with the fact that she cannot figure out how to kill off her lead character in her novel. The interesting thing is that her lead character is named Harold Crick.
-Deleted and Extended Scenes
-Actors In Search Of A Story
-Building The Team
-On Location in Chicago
-Words on a Page
-Picture a Number
-On The Set