I've never seen a film with Will Ferrell in a starring role before. In fact the only things I've ever seen him in have been two Austin Powers movies and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and trailers to numerous movies I have no interest in ever seeing - Anchorman, Blades of Glory and films like this hold no interest for me.
I don't tend to get along with many American comedy films. American Pie and all similar films usually leave me cold.
But Stranger Than Fiction had a few things that grabbed my attention. For one thing Emma Thompson - I've been a huge fan of hers for years. I consider her a great actress and, importantly for me, intelligent. And this isn't me attributing positive characteristics to someone I like - this woman has won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. That's not something you get unless you can string a few words together.
Secondly Dustin Hoffman - a great, great actor who has starred in some of my favourite movies - and I'm thinking Wag the Dog not Meet the Fockers here.
And finally the plot. I like plots in books and films that mess with the medium. Yeah - I know I'm a horror and science fiction fan but I can have levels can't I? I like postmodernism. Show me a novel when the author steps into the pages and interacts with the characters and you'll probably have a book I like. Add in wild disjunction and I'll go with it - basically break the norm and do it well and I'll be a fan.
This film does it. Having a truly boring lead character is a good start - a man who counts his brushstrokes when cleaning his teeth for heaven's sake, how much duller can you get?
But when he starts hearing a narration of his life told in the third person I was hooked. Then have this narration as an ongoing novel being written by Emma Thompson character - getting better. And to make it even better have them meet and see what happens. Brilliant. With films like this I might start watching more American mainstream fare - well more than just the horror and science fiction stuff.