I hate Will Ferrell's comedy. I've had ample opportunity to know this, as he's a massive box office draw for reasons I cannot begin to comprehend. But in 2006, he took a straight role in this bizarre and meta- film - and nailed it, buoyed by both a brilliant script and a fantastic supporting cast. Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a mildly obsessive-compulsive IRS agent with an incredibly dull life. Until one day, he notices his narrator (Emma Thompson). That's right: we're hearing her describing his life ... and he hears her too. Which is disturbing enough for him, but gets much worse when she mentions his imminent death. So he consults a psychiatrist, and then a professor of literature (Dustin Hoffman) who is much more helpful. All while trying to complete an audit on a recalcitrant baker (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
The movie benefits from great visual presentation, thought-provoking material, and a willingness to follow through completely on its strange premise. Unexpected and utterly marvelous, it's become one of my favourite films.