Darryl Zero, the hero of the film, is brilliant as a detective but a shambles in life. The keys to his brilliance are "the two obs," objectivity and observation, and the story is really about how one woman's presence confounds his detachment during a case. Ben Stiller plays his long-suffering assistant ably, and there's a great deal of fun in showing Zero's idiosyncrasies without overdoing it. Pullman definitely has a lot of fun playing a character who's not at all like the President in Independence Day. But he also gets to expound on his own methods and I could definitely relate to how this nerd saw the world (too bad my social shortcomings were not offset by his kind brilliance though). So the plot of the case is well done but the real interest is in the people involved.
I also liked the fact that several cliches were ignored in this movie, like:
- The hero gets the girl, sort of, but he doesn't emerge as an "improved man" (by conventional standards.
- The most "obvious" criminal in the picture still behaves like a human being when it counts.
Anyway, that turned out to be two hours well spent. Rent it today !