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Dan in Real Life (2007) PG-13

October 28th, 2007 by Maxim · No Comments · 4,562 Views


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Dan In Real LifeIf you liked the 40 Year Old Virgin, you will love this movie. After the failure of Evan Allmighty it was nice to see Steve Carell back, now in the role of 40-something widower Dan Burns with three daughters, Jane (Allison Pills), Cara (Brittany Robertson) and little Lilly (Marlene Lawston). Dan balances being dad and mom for his daughters with writing a popular column for a newspaper and has his fan base: his is a self-help column about having family and relationships – kinda like Carrie in Sex and the City. And so far he could not have been more sincere in his column. Being single parent with two teenage daughters is not easy. Even little Lilly is showing sings of not being a baby anymore with her creative thinking. Jane is in “love” with a Latino boy from her school: “I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him”, she rants. Obviously, spending hours on the cell phone and sending SMS non-stop. “You can’t fall in love in 3 days”, Dan tells her. He must know something about love, right? His teenage daughters think they know everything too.

One day he is at the bookstore and in walks a woman, Marie (Juliette Binoche familiar to American audience for her role in The English Patient and Chocolat, but she also has a long career in French movies), and mistakes him for a store clerk. Dan helps her pick some books. When his little deception is uncovered by the real store clerk, he asks to make it up to her and they spend some good time together with a little smalltalk over a cup of tea and muffin. A romance is sparked. He asks for her phone number, she agrees, but mentions she’s with someone.

Soon he meets her again: Dan takes his girls to his retired parents’ house for family reunion for a few days. To his surprise, in walks his brother Mitch (Dane Cook) – together with Marie, his date!

The Good:

  • Steve Carell is funny, being cute and giving his trademark sad looks. That being said, he also plays a great dad.
  • Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche do make a sweet couple.
  • I enjoyed every moment of it: the teenage love, Steve playing dad, Dan’s big family who want what’s best for him, the flow of the movie and all the little and big surprises.
  • There aren’t many jokes or gags that screenwriters often put in the script to make you laugh, but what makes this movie laugh-out-loud funny is because everything is “funny because it’s true” and surprises come non-stop. That actually is a closing line on Dan’s column: “Expect to be surprised”. I liked this movie a lot. Will definitely see it again on DVD.
  • Dan in Real Life is better suitable then 40 Year Old Virgin for family enjoyment.
  • Peter Hedges, who had done a great job writing About A Boy a few years ago, had written Dan in Real Life together with Pierce Gardner, and directed this sweet, funny and touching movie and every family can relate to, or even recognize themselves or their children in the characters. The story AND great acting are what makes this movie work. Some sentimental moments too.
  • I liked acoustic guitar background theme.

The Bad:

  • I think the scene when Marie meets Dan was highly implausible. Marie had obviously never been in that store before and not even in the area. She can perfectly describe what books she would like to buy – almost like ordering a cool coffee drink at Starbucks. For someone who’s soul searching she knows exactly how she wants the books to make her feel. This may characterize her in a nice way: she’s probably not sure she’s happy in her relationship, and being French she looks for a book that would give her an answer to all her questions, or at least have a therapeutic effect.
  • The moment when Dan and Marie are at the bowling alley and the whole family walks in on them was predictable. That being said, this film is full of surprises.
  • This could be a deeper movie; it was almost designed for family watching it on a weekend or a holiday.

Other comments:

  • I’d like me a house like Dan’s parents when I retire – on the shore.
  • Rhode Island is nice even in bad weather.

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Tags: Comedy · Drama · Movies · Romance

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