Dave's Rating:

4.5

… adorable …

Who's in It: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Tony Hale

The Basics: Ferrell is a blank of an IRS agent whose entire life is a work of fiction being narrated by an author (Thompson) in the process of writing a novel. The catch is that she's going to write his death soon, just as he's learning to enjoy life. And like seeing Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you keep waiting for Ferrell to get spazzy, and he never does. That's very nice.

What's the Deal? This is one of those adorable fantasy-meets-reality movies where all the characters are less like people and more like cogs in a machine. They have no choice but to keep moving in the direction that the script makes them go, no matter how unrealistic that direction is. You can complain about it being "far-fetched" all day, but it tells you right from the start that Ferrell's wristwatch has thoughts and feelings, and that imaginary voices control people's lives. So unless you leave the theater right then and there, you have to accept its terms. And if you do, you'll really enjoy your time with it.

Who's Great: Thompson can't do anything wrong. Pretty much ever. Even when she's sitting in pouring rain making Popeye faces, which she does throughout this entire movie.

Favorite Moment: In real life, the anarchist baker (Gyllenhaal) would never fall for the zero-charisma auditor. But this isn't real life. And when Ferrell plays a cool old song for her on his guitar — again, holding back the goofiness — it's sweet and romantic in the good way.

Look Closely: Because the guy playing the New Age Jerk-office therapist? That's Tom Hulce from Animal House and Amadeus. Beards are still the perfect disguise.

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