Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dan in Real Life. B


'Dan in Real Life' may seem obvious and predictable and corny, but when compared to the most comedies these days, it's, to say the least, refreshing. Steve Carell plays Dan Burns, a struggling single father with three daughters, all of whom struggle accepting Dan as their father. He is very cautious with them, particularly Cara (Brittany Roberston), who thinks she is in love. They travel to Dan's parents' house, where a large family reunion is taking place. During the visit, Dan goes down to a book store where he meets, Marie (Juliette Binoche), a French woman who he immediately falls for. He gets home and tells everyone that he met someone perfect at the bookstore only to find out that Marie is dating Dan's brother Mitch (Dane Cook). The movie gives us plenty of scenes of the family participating in activities that seem real and not exaggerated. They're all having fun except for Dan, who feels lost and confused. 'Dan in Real Life' has several cheesy moments, but coupled with them are some scenes that were truly funny. What really made the movie work was Carell, who just might be the best comedic actor working today. With this film, he shows that not only can he take on a funny role, but also a dramatic one. The movie is also helped out by the script, co-written by director Billy Hedges, who also wrote the lovable 'About a Boy.' There were lots of scenes that didn't work here, including the one where each member of the family puts on a skit. But other scenes, particularly the one where Marie leads the family in an exercise routine and when Emily Blunt makes an appearance, work very nicely. Overall, 'Dan in Real Life' is schmaltzy dramedy about love, but it is still funny, and still refreshing enough for me to recommend it.

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