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Dan in Real Life (2007)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 26 October 2007 (USA)
2:31 | Trailer
A widower finds out the woman he fell in love with is his brother's girlfriend.


Peter Hedges
3,781 ( 272)
4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Carell ... Dan
Juliette Binoche ... Marie
Dane Cook ... Mitch
Alison Pill ... Jane
Britt Robertson ... Cara (as Brittany Robertson)
Marlene Lawston ... Lilly
Dianne Wiest ... Nana
John Mahoney ... Poppy
Norbert Leo Butz ... Clay
Amy Ryan ... Eileen
Jessica Hecht ... Amy
Frank Wood ... Howard
Henry Priest Miller ... Will (as Henry Miller)
Ella Miller Ella Miller ... Rachel
CJ Adams ... Elliot (as Cameron 'CJ' Adams)


Single father Dan Burns dedicates his life to his children, but one day he meets Marie at a bookstore. They get to know each other, but then Dan finds out that Marie is actually dating his brother, Mitch. Written by Marisa_Gabriella

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Something's happening to Dan. It's confusing. It's awkward. It's family.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some innuendo | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

26 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dan in Real Life See more »

Filming Locations:

Westerly, Rhode Island, USA See more »


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,809,445, 28 October 2007

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS (as dts)| Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Improvisation was encouraged during filming. One such case was the line: "This corn is like an angel." Allison Pill's (Jane) stoic expression turns into a failed attempt to hold back a grin. The outtakes show that the entire cast soon burst out laughing. See more »


The cop takes Dan's driver's license after his accident and then later Dan says he can no longer drive because he doesn't have a license. Although the police can take a license in lieu of a cash bond, they can not take away driving privileges. Driving while waiting for a court date by using the ticket as driver's identification. Typically only the state's DMV or a judge can revoke driving privileges. See more »


Marie: [Entering laundry room where is Dan seated on a cot] What was that?
Dan Burns: [rises from the cot] I couldn't... I couldn't stop myself.
Marie: What am I supposed to do now?
Dan Burns: You can't do anything. He's my brother.
Marie: [stifling back tears] Why did you sing for me?... Then?
Dan Burns: Because I... I'm
[now shaking his head]
Marie: [reciting passages from Dan's book] Page 92. "Did I just die? Because an angel walked into the room". Page 148... uh..."I'll forgive you your past if you'll forgive me mine.". It seems all his best lines were ...
See more »


References Heaven Can Wait (1943) See more »


Let My Love Open The Door
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Steve Carell and Dane Cook
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

What's real about it?
11 December 2007 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

Peter Hedges, who penned the screenplays for the admired indie films What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Pieces of April (and he directed the latter) as well as the successful adaptations of Nick Hornby's About a Boy and Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World, has now guided comic Steve Carell of Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin in a romantic comedy about two brothers vying for the same woman at a large family gathering--which will remind you of the one in The Family Stone, or Home for the Holidays, or for that matter Pieces of April, and a wide variety of American ensemble film comedies--all of which are better focused and more successful than this lame, often cringe-worthy attempt to merge Meet Cute with soppily sentimental treatments of death and sibling rivalry. What was Hedges thinking? He and everybody concerned are obviously capable of much better than this.

One thing that's overwhelmingly clear is that the main plot points got lost in the overstuffed ensemble shuffle. Even when Carell's character, Dan, a widower and "real world" newspaper commentator with three girls he can't connect with, is in a basement bedroom it fills up with a jumble of family members. Once Carell and a misused Juliette Binnoche have had their tiresome first encounter at a bookstore--whereupon he woos her by talking nonstop for an hour or so--dialogue that happily we're mostly spared--every scene is replete with aerobics, charades, amateur night, dancing, or extras running back and forth, including a bevy of poor child actors who rarely get to utter a line. And this is not to mention some positively sick-making song sessions. Ultimately this is a movie that avoids saying anything at all about love and about how people fall in and out of it. There's even an implied subtext that says love's better avoided or repressed. But it's hard to read any message here, since the primary sound is of static. And if motivations and emotions aren't developed, characters can't be, either.

The writing fudges every key point. What gets Carell so interested in Binoche in the bookstore? We never learn anything about her, nor does he. Suddenly he's all over her, gathering a pile of tones including Anna Karenina and a life of Gandhi, taking advantage of her mistaking him for the salesman. Hasn't that been done before? Yes, and better. Later, when Binoche leaves Carell's brother (Dane Cook), there's no scene showing why. Of course he's an offensive boor, but if she hasn't seen that so far, what makes her see it now? No dialogue, not even a frown, to tell us. The result is a movie whose main developments are predictable, yet inexplicable. Nor has Hedges the ability as a director to maintain a consistent tone (he veers too often in and out of maudlin and slapstick) or to thread the romantic comedy clearly through all the jumble of background. The noise overwhelms the dialogue, and some plot lines and characters got emasculated in the cutting room, or on the computer. Carell's mom, Dienne Wiest (also wasted) is inexplicably sadistic toward him. An ironic, pessimist relative, a potentially funny character, has only two lines, not enough to define him. The lovelorn daughter Brittany Robertson's boyfriend (Felipe Dieppa) is summarily packed off in a car, and that takes care of that little problem. When a writer-director's so short with his characters, how are we supposed to care about them? All Hedges has succeeded in doing is maintaining the noise level, and when it's all over, the memories, despite valiant efforts from the cast, are more embarrassing than funny.

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