My husband actually sat through it, which is more than he did for "Little Miss Sunshine". He, of the "Band of Brothers" ilk.
It IS odd. But then, M. Night Shyamalan is an eccentric guy. The critics panned the living hell out of it— voted it the worst movie of '06 I think. Which is unjust, even though it had some extremely goofy sections. I guess there were areas where a bit of comic relief would've helped. And maybe it was not a great move for the director to play the character that he chose to play ("self-indulgent"). On the other hand, it's his prerogative, and most people probably don't know who he is so it wouldn't matter.
Best watched in kid-who-has-read-Joseph-Campbell mode. It's fantasy.
Not any worse or self-indulgent than so many other movies around (like say, "War of the Worlds" or "Vanilla Sky"). I think critics were expecting something more…intellectual? and this does have a tinge of that well-made- film-school-project quality about it. I think they also wrongly accuse him of taking it as seriously as they did. It's a bedtime story! Ok, with characters that have an earnestness that would probably be missing in the real world.
If you've seen everything else and you don't know what you feel like watching but nothing too taxing, get some popcorn and enjoy Paul Giamatti in the lead role. You will appreciate his efforts on this film.