Thanks to its metaphysical, life-as-art narrative conceit, Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction has been dubbed, in some disparaging circles, Charlie Kaufman Lite. One might add that it’s also Drama Lite, Comedy Lite, and Will Ferrell Lite, the entire production such a featherweight nothing that it engenders only indifference. In screenwriter Zach Helm’s oh-so-cute tale, IRS agent Harold Crick (Ferrell, his endearing wackiness nowhere to be found) begins hearing an omniscient voice narrate his everyday routines, a situation that becomes more dire when the voice starts discussing his impending demise. What ensues is Harold’s rebirth into a man who doesn’t count toothbrush strokes or the number of steps it takes to reach the bus stop but, instead, embraces life, which he accomplishes via the help of an anti-establishment baker (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a literary professor (Dustin Hoffman), and, eventually, Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), the reclusive author of the novel in which Harold – through some inexplicable (and thus left-unexplained) twist of fate – is the tragic protagonist. Faux-profound uplift is in abundant supply throughout Stranger Than Fiction. So, ultimately, is self-conscious cleverness and precious quirkiness, the film diagramming its coincidences and calamities with such schematic precision – and unimaginatively gussying up its action with graphical touches “borrowed” from Fight Club’s IKEA catalog sequence – that any spark of spontaneity or authentic passion/misery is more or less annihilated.