Dan In Real Life (2007)

Dan In Real Life is a look at a stressful, holiday, extended family get together. It stars Steve Carrell as Dan, and Juliette Binoche as Marie.

Dan is a newspaper writer that does the local self help column (kind of like a "Dear Abby"). He is a somewhat recently widowed father of three daughters. His middle child is growing up too fast, and his older daughter is trying to use her new learner's permit to drive at every opportunity. Unfortunately, Dan has not been able to move on from the loss of his wife, but a chance encounter with Marie at a local bookstore gives him new hope- or so he thinks. Next thing we know, he has fallen, completely unbenkownst to both of them, for his brother's new girlfriend. And they're all living as "one big happy family" in the parents seaside Rhode Island home for the holidays. Talk about uncomfortable!

While the premise was somewhat novel, Dan In Real Life needs to declare itself more clearly. I mean, it doesn't know if it wants to be taken seriously as a drama, or more of a romantic comedy. I think it would have worked better as a drama, and dropped the inane comedy of falling off a roof for no reason, or blowing through the same stop sign multiple times as neither was especially funny. Overall, the humor, at least to me, felt like it was layered on top like a sugary frosting sitting on an otherwise fine piece of cake. In that situation, I usually scrape the frosting off, but it's a little harder with a film. Also, I didn't particularly care for Steve Carrell's performance in this, as I felt he was playing himself more than truly acting for most of it. Still, it's not the worst film I saw this week...

Overall Grade: B-

Reviewed by Jonas

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