Rating: Worth a Full Price Ticket –
Synopsis: The author of an advice column and dedicated single dad meets the woman of his dreams, when his extended family has a reunion at a beach house. Unfortunately, for him, she turns out to be his brother’s girlfriend.
Review: In the landscape of what is deemed comedy these days, Dan in Real Life is sweet, poignant and very funny. Even though it stars Steve Carell, who made us laugh in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Dane Cook, who didn’t in Good Luck Chuck, it has little in common with either of those movies, as Dan in Real Life is not an adult comedy, it’s actually, a comedy for adults.
Dan in Real Life has a similar pace and tone to The Family Stone, except no one is about to die, they had already done so years earlier. Carell plays Dan, a devoted single father, but not always a great dad. He has three daughters and having lost their mother four years ago, is doing the best he knows how. He is also an advice columnist, but one that just needs to take his own advice.
The best thing about Dan in Real Life is the real comic moments and genuine laughter that filled the theater. Many comedies seem to be trying to hard to make us laugh and end up failing miserably. Dan in Real Life didn’t seem to be exerting itself, but it sure got the audience laughing and a lot.
Like all romantic comedies, the story is completely contrived. Yet, it doesn’t feel like it is. It all seems completely natural and authentic. That is attributable to the outstanding cast. The brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons are all just perfect. That includes Cook, who seems to be better in the less comedic roles he has taken recently.
While Carell is fantastic as the male lead, Juliette Binoche (Chocolat) is really what makes the movie go. If you met her in that bookstore, you wouldn’t want her to leave either and you would be totally devastated to find out the guy she was newly seeing is your womanizing brother.
One thing that I don’t always notice is a films soundtrack, well unless it is completely terrible, or in this case, very good. Sondre Lerche has fashioned a truly impressive film score on his first attempt. Each instrumental and song captures the mood of what is taking place on screen. Make sure you stay for that last song, as the credits roll, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, Dan in Real Life is one of the most enjoyable movies to hit the big screen this year and is definitely worth a full price ticket.
What did you think about Dan in Real Life?