MIKE’S TAKE: ½ star
In the commercials promoting the DVD release, Will Farrell’s character Harold Crick exclaims, “It’s a comedy!” He tries to figure out whether his life, which is being written out by a fiction writer, is a comedy or tragedy.
What I found tragic is that the story has all the makings of a really good comedy, but goes the melodramatic route instead.
Farrell is the perfect comedic Everyman. He could stare blankly at the camera and still incite laughter. But he holds back in this film to provide a dramatic turn as the sympathetic IRS agent who finds love despite his creator’s attempts to kill off his character in the story.
Overall, it’s a confusing plot beyond the premise, and a waste of good talent, specifically Farrell and Dustin Hoffman. Felt kind of bad giving it such a bad rating, considering most critics loved it, but I was bored throughout. Even the DVD extras are dull.
JORGE’S TAKE: one star
This film had a promising funny beginning, but then it tried to get serious. Will Farrell stars as an IRS agent who lives a neatly packaged but meaningless life. His life is interrupted by another character who’s life is equally meaningless but has the power to determine Farrell’s character. As I watched this drama of intersection, I began to ask questions and soon realized I wasn’t supposed to.
Had the movie stuck to its initial comedic direction, I could have forgiven its faulty logic. Worse yet, a tattooed baker, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, refuses to pay taxes yet falls for a guy who crunches numbers for breakfast. I found this subplot distracting and irrelevant, but it turned out to be the only thing I could make sense of.