Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dan in Real Life

I think I first heard about Dan in Real Life on public radio - they were giving it a fairly glowing review, and some of the clips they played sounded interesting, so I added it to my Netflix queue. It showed up about a week ago, and we finally got around to watching it last night.

Synopsis from

Just as LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE did in 2006, DAN IN REAL LIFE reveals that Steve Carell is an actor who can do more than just comedy. He's won both accolades and awards as bumbling boss Michael Scott on THE OFFICE, but there's a greater depth to this performance as a single father and man in love. Advice columnist Dan Burns (Carell) has his hands full with three daughters that he's not willing to let grow up. The girls still grieve for their mother who died four years ago, and Dan hasn't made any attempts to date. So he's pleasantly surprised when he meets Marie (Juliette Binoche) at a bookstore when he goes to his parents' Rhode Island home for the annual family reunion. But his joy is short-lived when he discovers that she is dating his brother (Dane Cook), forcing Dan to hide his feelings and chemistry with Marie. Carell adeptly balances his role's humor and heartache, while Binoche (CHOCOLAT) is radiant as ever. Comedian Cook (GOOD LUCK CHUCK) shows surprising talent as the third leg of their love triangle. Through his duties as director and co-screenwriter, Peter Hedges deserves much of the credit for creating a film that is sweet without being sappy. Even though he's working with a far bigger budget than he did for his directorial debut, PIECES OF APRIL, he still maintains the feelings of intimacy and honesty that made that film such a critical favorite. What could have been a standard romantic comedy of errors turns into a strong film that goes deeper than many of its peers in the genre. DAN IN REAL LIFE also succeeds thanks to its soundtrack from Norwegian indie pop musician Sondre Lerche. The singer's compositions, both originals and favorites from his career, perfectly suit the film's tone and moods.

I really enjoyed this movie. Carell did a really good job with the part, and the movie had a good balance of serious and funny scenes. Bobby's not generally inclined towards romantic comedies, but we both liked the film and found ourselves laughing out loud to a number of scenes.

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