Dan in Real Life (2007) Poster

(I) (2007)

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9/10
A Delightful Treat for Adults
chere431 November 2007
The most satisfying element about "Dan in Real Life" is that the relationship between Dan (Steve Carell) and Marie (Juliette Binoche) makes sense and is beautifully realistic. The casting of Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche as Dan's love interest was a superb decision; she is exceptionally talented, intelligent, naturally attractive and, thank goodness, appropriately aged for the part! Had this movie been made with Jessica Alba or Scarlett Johansson, it would have been a disaster.

Another wonderful aspect about "Dan in Real Life" is that it is a perfect film for adults who are interested in a mature comedy that leaves out the three pillars of the "frat pack" formula: dumb chicks, chauvinistic guys, and sleazy jokes. "Dan in Real Life" is witty and has fun, intelligent laughs throughout. Whereas other comedies incorporate or are almost entirely based on jokes that shock the audience into laughing, the jokes from "Dan in Real Life" are more natural and clever, and involve some thinking on the part of the audience.

My only problem with "Dan in Real Life" is that the rebellious, middle daughter is played too outrageously by actress Brittany Robertson. It's difficult to say if this was a personal choice on her part or a choice by the director. Either way, her character is unrealistic and annoying. But, this is only a minor flaw in the film, and does not take away from the story as a whole.

All in all, "Dan in Real Life" is a great film, a fantastic escape from the redundancy of offensive and dumbed-down comedies. The quality of the writing, directing, acting, and (especially) cinematography is excellent. It is simply a beautiful, light-hearted comedy.
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7/10
Not massively original, but it is entertaining
seawalker15 January 2008
Steve Carell plays Dan Burns, newspaper agony uncle and dedicated single father to three girls. At a large family homecoming Dan meets his perfect woman, only to find out that she is in a relationship with his brother.

What's a man to do?

I rather liked "Dan In Real Life", but I would imagine the success or otherwise of this flick is going to be down to whether you are willing to accept Steve Carell playing a part relatively straight and restrained, rather than going through the broad comedy moves that have made him so successful. If you cannot accept it, fear not, "Get Smart" will be along later in the year, but for the record I thought he was very good.

"Dan In Real Life" starts off like your typical, incidentally amusing, family drama, but it gets funnier and funnier as it goes along and Carell's frustration with his situation grows. It's not massively original (but if you only saw movies with original ideas, cinematic pickings would be very scarce indeed, wouldn't they?), but "Dan In Real Life" is entertaining, and a good cast (who wouldn't fall in love at first sight with the luminous Juliette Binoche?) make the most of an insightful enough script that contains many a ponder on the meaning and passion of love.

I hope that Steve Carell pushes himself and does something as interesting again.
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10/10
Sweet, Funny, Touching...Just About Perfect
writtenbypatrick4 October 2007
I got to see this film at a preview and was dazzled by it. It's not the typical romantic comedy. I can't remember laughing so hard at a film and yet being moved by it. The laughs aren't gags here--they're observations, laughs of recognition, little shocks of "Oh, my God, I thought I was the only one who felt that way!" I won't give away the plot, which is more than just "Guy falls in love with his brother's girlfriend." The whole family plays a part in the relationship here. Probably the best blend of laughter and warmth since "While You Were Sleeping."

Steve Carell goes much deeper than he's gone before, and for the first time I really liked him. The cast is amazing, a list of veteran theater actors whom I've loved in other roles, but they blend to make a convincing family. Dianne Wiest is lovely as the mother, Juliette Binoche is luminous and hilarious (who knew she was funny?), and even the reviled Dane Cook gives a warm, quiet, touching performance. The Sondre Lerche soundtrack is a wonderful addition, and I'll buy the CD the second it's available.

Don't miss this one.
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10/10
A One-of-A-Kind Movie Experience
Chalula8821 October 2007
I was lucky enough to see this at a pre-screening last night (Oct. 20) and I was incredibly surprised by the wonderful plot and genuinely heart felt acting.

While the plot is not particularly complicated or exceptionally new, the story unfolds in a way that feels fresh, unique, and distinctly "indy" in style. It isn't something that can easily be compared to films of the past, it's a unique take on a sort of classic middle-aged depressed love story.

I was particularly struck by the casting of the film. Down to every last extra in the family, it was a beautiful and talented cast. The three daughters did a wonderful job, the talent was evenly dispersed between them and none of them "out-shone" the other two.

It was truly a delightful film, appropriate for all ages and laugh out loud funny while also being truly touching and heart warming. It was a wonderful break from the sex jokes and nudity of recent films.
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8/10
Dan IS real life
moutonbear2527 October 2007
Marie: You are smooth. Dan: No, I'm not smooth. I'm Dan.

If you're anything like me, smooth and single do not go together. You see someone you like, rare enough as that can be, and you want to say something but you don't. Or maybe you do say something but it ends up being perhaps the least intelligent thing you've ever said in your life. More often then not though, you stare from afar and admire without having to deal with taking that which most agree is the only way to get anywhere in life – a risk. You can't blame a guy for being a little frightened though. Maybe he's been burned hard before or maybe he's trying to focus all his energy on his career. There are reasons, some valid, some not, and all of them can be interpreted as excuses rather than reason. You tell yourself you don't need it or it isn't the right time for you but you still wish it were happening. Any way you break it down, it's not easy. Sound familiar? If you thought yes even just a little, then DAN IN REAL LIFE, the new comedy from director Peter Hedges, is a must-see. It will reach inside of you and somehow manage to both break and warm your heart all at once.

The Dan from the title is Dan Burns (Steve Carell), an advice columnist who is admired for his insight into living a balanced, fulfilling and morally uplifting life. Four years or so before the film opens on Dan waking up to his day, he lost his wife and love of his life. After that tragedy, Dan was left to raise their three daughters alone. Between that and focusing on his career, finding love again was not one of Dan's priorities. And so he became more functional than feeling. Removed from the power of intimacy, Dan no longer knows what it means to be that close to someone and has resigned himself to never knowing that again. That is, until he meets Marie (Juliette Binoche) in a book and tackle shop in Connecticut on a quiet morning. They're interaction is casual, comfortable and it catches both of them off guard. There is only one problem really. She is already seeing someone. Unfortunately for all involved, that someone is Dan's brother, Mitch (Dane Cook). His entire family has come up to their parents' country home for their yearly visit and Dan must now spend the weekend pining and yearning for the fleeting feeling he had with Marie that morning. It only lasted an hour or so but it only took that long to awaken Dan's heart from its coma.

With so many family members to deal with (Jack Mahoney and Dianne Wiest are at the helm), DAN IN REAL LIFE does drift away from its grander purpose from time to time. While the cyclone of kids and parents and aunts and uncles makes for trying times for Dan, Hedges also uses it unnecessarily as a means to distract, with the presumption that it would ultimately make for a more complete film. Luckily, Hedges has got Carell to carry the heavy burden. It is a pleasure to watch Steve Carell come into his own more and more with every picture he makes (despite the occasional EVAN ALMIGHTY-sized misstep). He is charismatic, charming and obviously a sharp humorist. As Dan, he is also self-deprecating, awkward and scared. Carell is the rare comedian who pushes himself to find character in his roles rather than rely solely on his comedic instincts and established persona. Perhaps more importantly, he is entirely relatable as Dan. Whether he's flopping down on the cot in the laundry room where he is subjected to sleep as the only single adult at this reunion or fidgeting around the kitchen, unable to stan d still in his anxiety, Dan is every guy who has even been unsure of himself and felt alone in the crowd. Carell gives Dan so much heart that he becomes the heart of the film itself at the same time.

I wondered after seeing the film if I enjoyed the it as much as I did, despite its slight shortcomings (Juliette Binoche – I know you might like to lighten up every now and then but I don't recommend it unless there is chocolate involved), because of where I am in my life. Would someone who has found that someone else derive as much meaning and comfort from this film? I can't say. What I can say, as someone who knows what it means to be lonely, DAN IN REAL LIFE knows what it means to be surprised by life and love and how these moments and people need to be appreciated and cherished. It also knows that anyone who might be feeling lonely on any given day or for months at a time needs to be reminded that surprises still happen.
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8/10
I liked it. I can't say much more than that
dbborroughs5 January 2008
I'm not a Steve Carell fan however I like this movie about Dan, an advice columnist, who goes to his parents house for a stay with his kids and ends up falling in love with his brother's girlfriend. Its a story thats been told before, but not like this. There are simply too many little bits that make the film better than it should be. The cast is wonderful, and even if Carell is not my cup of tea, he is quite good as the widower who's suppose to know everything but finds that knowing is different than feeling and that sometimes life surprises you. At times witty and wise in the way that an annoying Hallmark card can be, the film still some how manages to grow on you and be something more than a run of the mill film. Worth a look see
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9/10
It could be Dan in real life
schmidteren9 March 2008
This is my review of Dan in real life which i've just seen.

The movie was in my eyes very realistic, and I think that is a big plus. I can't recollect that I've seen a movie where I felt that what I saw was real like I did with this movie. The acting was great, Steve Carrol gives the character so much, the awkwardness that he brings to the person in some of the scenes are just great, you feel like it was happening to you, and it probably could, and we are all familiar with the situations which are seen in this movie.

The movie also had some great Hilarious moments. The movie was not made to be all fun, it had a good script, a nice well written story, where you at no time where confused about anything. The plot was straight out, and there was no time you where like oh my god what is happening now. In my opinion was the movie excellent :D:) And I loved the last scene, where he finish it with the best quote, and a really helpful one, which I would try thinking of from time to time in my life, a very good advice. And I think that that the movie had a nice message to send out to everyone, and it did it in a very good and well done way. Last words. I think that especially the connection between Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche was just fantastic. The emotions between them where very realistic and sweet. I rate this movie 9 out of 10, VERY close to a 10

:) (:

Edit: I bumped it up to 10 after rewatching several times. It's a movie I really like coming back to, so I think it deserves a 10.
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10/10
"Life...love and the pursuit of happiness"
screenwriter-1428 October 2007
I was drawn to DAN IN REAL LIFE from the excellent reviews and the thirst for a Dramedy that was well written-thank you Peter Hedges-and because when Steve Carell stars in the film, you know an audience is going to find like in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, a performance that is very entertaining and rewarding. DAN IN REAL LIFE delivered that promise.

The film is so real to many families world wide that have lost a member and yet have gone on with their lives in search of something that will give them the magic back before their loss. With Steve Carell and the wondrous Juliette Binoche, their relationship was so beautifully done and written that their scenes were so real to their characters and to their journeys. The cast, sets and story made DAN IN REAL LIFE one to remember as we head into the holidays ahead.
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Wasn't Expecting What I Saw
CandidlyCandid7 April 2009
Steve Carell once again stars in a light romantic movie about choices, family and pressure. By judging on the plot and cover art of the movie I was expecting a flat-out comedy, lots of laughs and unrealistic elements, but I guess I was wrong. Sure the movie had some comedy, but it felt much more of a light Drama to me and Steve Carell once again gave a great performance. The movie itself really tackles true observations and that was a strong element I found. But, the ending felt a little bit rushed and predictable. Through-out, the cinematography was great, the acting was great and the message it delivered was obvious but yet still very important. Though, it came down to old, flat and predictable ending. I'd reckon if different choices were made at the end of the movie (perhaps for the bad, even) this movie would get better publicity. Still a fun movie.
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1/10
Something amiss at the IMDb
The Sheen15 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
-might contain spoilers... but believe me, this movie spoils itself from start to finish.

I walked into this movie with high expectations. It was my own fault. I had put too much stock in Steve Carell's record to date. 40 year old virgin... Little Miss Sunshine... The Office. And I also made the mistake of coming to IMDb and seeing a 7.5 user rating before going to the movie. It's always been a very good predictor in the past, but something is definitely off lately. The last time I felt this embarrassed and in this much pain in a movie theater was watching "Blue Steel" in 1990.

This flick fumbled from start to finish. The script was flunky material. Awful writing all around. "Murderer of love"? "Love is an ability"? Whoever wrote this crap suffered from the same affliction that struck American Beauty's writer(s)... trying waaaaayyyyyy too hard. The entire flick was peppered with Three's Company'ish moments like the awful and contrived shower scene. Or the pointless/confusing aerobics scene. Or the awful laundry room scene. Right when you think something serious and/or real is about to happen, they toss in one of these terrible moments. And it happens over and over and over again.

And what's with Carell's character? The guy meets some lame broad at a book store and is suddenly head over heels in love? Let's face it. Their conversation sucked. They both should have said their goodbye's after a few minutes. Pay close attention to the initial conversation when you have the misfortune of watching this movie.... Carell's character is trying to say something which is absolutely random and un-funny (I think the exact line was "this one time when I was a kid"... that's it. seriously), but both are laughing so hard that coffee is about to spout out of their noses. The actors themselves looked like they were in pain, wondering why they're being directed to do what they're doing.

Back to the IMDb thing... you guys need to figure out a way to keep a movie's promotional team off this site. I know it's impossible, but it's painfully obvious the first 20 or so ratings/reviews were either posted by 12 year olds, or by flunky's hired by the studio. Check out The Family Stone's rating... if that's a mid 5, then this absolutely has got to be a 2... and that's pushing it.
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1/10
Really, really lame
gmherp-226 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler: Bunch of passive-aggressive people having family reunion. The script has them saying and doing things people would never do, at least anyone with a shred of decency. The hero falls for a woman he sees as his soul mate at a bookstore the day of the reunion, unaware she will show up as his brother's girlfriend at the reunion. He tries to defer to his brother's claim, but she, knowing our hero is clearly infatuated with her, teases him mercilessly by wearing sexy clothing and behaving like a stripper, rubbing all over the brother in a ruse excuse that she is showing him how to stretch. At one point, she actually disrobes and gets into a shower with him. He tries to cover his eyes. His heart is breaking. She thinks it's funny, until she suddenly decides she doesn't want the brother and leaves the reunion.

The movie really drags. The audience coughed and fidgeted its way through the long haul. The writing is unintelligent and unbelievable. We almost walked out, but kept thinking surely something would happen that would perk things up, but nooooo. All the lovely reviews must have been written by paid shills, out to dupe poor suckers like me into seeing crap like this. Comparing it to Little Miss Sunshine??? Jeez. Shame on them, the writers, the actors, the producers, and the theaters for letting anything this bad make it to the screen!
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2/10
Awful, predictable
first-too15 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If, in the first 10 minutes of this film, you don't realize that the main character, who writes a life advice column, is going to have the tables-oh-so-cleverly-turned and learn some valuable life lessons himself, then there is probably something wrong with you. The set up is so predictable as to ruin the movie, even if the rest of the movie was good (which it isn't)

There's almost no chemistry between the leads, and Steve Carell's stalker-ish behavior is embarrassing, not funny. It's hard to believe Binoche's character would have any interest in him. Then in the end it's all wrapped up so wonderful and everyone lives happily ever after. Isn't that great America!
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10/10
Dan in Irony
misterembryo27 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There is a scene in Dan in Real Life where the family is competing to see which sex can finish the crossword puzzle first. The answer to one of the clues is Murphy's Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. This is exactly the case for Dan Burns (Steve Carell, the Office) a columnist for the local newspaper. Dan is an expert at giving advice for everyday life, yet he comes to realize that things aren't so picture perfect in his own. Dan in Real Life is amazing at capturing these ironies of everyday life and is successful at embracing the comedy, tragedy, and beauty of them all. Besides that this movie is pretty damn hilarious.

The death of his wife forces Dan to raise his three daughters all on his own... each daughter in their own pivotal stages in life: the first one anxious to try out her drivers license, the middle one well into her teenage angst phase, and the youngest one drifting away from early childhood. Things take a turn for Dan when he goes to Rhode Island for a family reunion and stumbles across an intriguing woman in a bookstore.

Her name is Marie (Juliette Binoche, Chocolat) and she is looking for a book to help her avoid awkward situations... which is precisely whats in store when they get thrown into the Burns Family household.

If you've seen Steve Carell in The Office or Little Miss Sunshine, you'd know that he is incomparable with comedic timing and a tremendously dynamic actor as well. Steve Carell is awesome at capturing all the emotions that come with family life: the frustration and sincere compassion. The family as well as the house itself provides a warm environment for the movie that contrasts the inner turmoil that builds throughout the movie and finally bursts out in a pretty suspenseful climax. The movie only falls short in some of the predictable outcomes, yet at the same time life is made up of both irony and predictability: which is an irony within itself.

Dan in Real Life is definitely worth seeing, for the sole enjoyment of watching all the funny subtleties we often miss in everyday life, and I'll most likely enjoy it a second time, or even a third. Just "put it on my tab."
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7/10
A well-made, sweet movie!
Doctor_Wordsmith24 October 2007
I saw a special advance screening of this today. I have to let you know, I'm not a huge fan of either Dane Cook or Steve Carell, so I really had no expectations going into this. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

Dan in Real Life is the story of a widower with 3 daughters who goes to spend a weekend with his family. While at a bookstore, he meets the woman of his dreams, only to find out that she happens to be his brother's girlfriend.

This movie is pretty well made- the soundtrack, cinematography, and acting are all top-notch, especially Steve Carell. My problem with it was mostly that there seemed to be a lack of character development, mostly with Dane Cook's character. We never really get a close look at the relationship between Dane and Steve's characters, and I felt that it could have helped a bit in showing what Dan's inner conflict about being in love with Dane's girlfriend was like. Other than this though, Dan in Real Life is definitely a solid, sweet film- definitely a nice break from all the horror and action movies we've been getting this year.
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1/10
The worst movie EVER
durf21 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen a lot of movies in my life, and I can say without reservation that "Dan In Real Life" is the worst movie I've ever seen.

I love romantic comedies, but "Dan" is neither romantic nor funny. There are no gags written into the script; laughs are supposed to come because of the foibles of the characters. The problem is that to laugh at someone's foibles, you need to feel some empathy for them, and the main characters in "Dan" are entirely unlikable.

Marie (Juliette Binoche) has "fallen in love" with two men in three days, and she doesn't seem to care which one she ends up with or whom she hurts. But she is charming compared to Dan (Steve Carell).

When Dan and Marie first meet they go for coffee, and Dan takes the opportunity to spend an hour talking animatedly about himself. Marie is unable to get in a word. Maybe that was supposed to be funny, but I know quite a few people like that, and they are generally neither funny nor particularly likable.

Dan certainly doesn't improve. Time after time he demonstrates that he is immature and self-centered. Twice he drives through stop signs without even slowing down. Maybe that's supposed to be funny, too, but a lot of people have died because of that kind of driving. Later Dan jumps in his car in a fog of emotion and backs the car into a police vehicle. Another laugh riot. At least he didn't back over a child.

At the end of the film, Dan has some parenting responsibility, but, true to form, he can't stop thinking about himself long enough to take care of it. Instead, his children have to take care of him.

The only enjoyment I got out of the entire movie was seeing that Dan and Marie were eventually married. It was delightful to imagine the misery they would surely be causing each other when the infatuation wears off.
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10/10
Dan in Real Life is Simply Awesome. Steve Carrell is sweetly normal. Juliette Binoche is perfect.
efrain91124 October 2007
I loved "Dan in Real Life". A wonderful journey-to-love story like You've Got Mail or While You Were Sleeping, but not ridiculously full of sight gags and crude jokes, and not so romantic it makes you wanna throw up.

Dan Burns (Steven Carrell) is a popular advice columnist who can't seem to get things in his own life straightened out. Until one day, on a family gathering/trip, he meets and instantly connects with Marie (the always beautiful Juliette Binoche)a radiant specimen of a woman who seems to be framed in a hazy filter hearkening back to the starlets of classic cinema. Chemistry happens over a cup of tea and muffin, but Marie must be off for a previous engagement, and they must part ways.

Later we are treated to Dan's tight-knit, fun-loving relatives who not only have big breakfasts together but also enjoy using the intelligent and sweetly dorky Dan as the butt of many bachelor jokes. What I liked so much was that although the family's characteristics could be seen as obnoxious to some, I thought it was a great portrayal of a big family that doesn't venture into parody or crude exaggeration. The Burns family is simply a close, loving group of people who are truly interested in the best for Dan. There are wonderfully awkward family moments that aren't unrealistic. The family is nosey, but never mean-spirited or gossipy; quirky, but never outlandish.

And then Dan falls in love with his brother's girlfriend he's brought to the family gathering. And thus begins a roller-coaster of restrained longing and funny love-budding.

I could go on but I just thought this movie was simply awesome. It's not particularly "hip" or "clever", never too wordy and obsessed with dry humor or biting wit as many comedies are in modern cinema. There is a nice balance of storytelling visuals and funny-but-real dialogue. in fact, early in the movie, the initial spark of love begins with whimsical discussion in a classic Hollywood-style conversation where the characters say what they're thinking out loud.

So I've probably rambled and repeated myself, but I highly recommend "Dan in Real Life". It's a great date movie, trust me, you'll laugh, and only if you're a geek like me you'll get a bit teary-eyed. Filled with fun and magical love, "Dan in Real Life" won't disappoint.

=================== 3.5 out of 4 stars Grade: A
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10/10
Steve Carell is no longer just a funny man. Warning: Spoilers
I rented this movie just because Steve Carell was in it, and thought it would be funny, but it was SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! I am going through something very similar in my life, and step for step, the story line rang true...then add the pathos that Steve Carell brought to the part...he made me FEEL this movie. When he explains LOVE to his brother, and the words were blurting out of his mouth because he was feeling them...when he sings for Marie and just peeks at her rather than being more obvious, then, when she calls him on it, the face he makes because he can't SAY he loves her, was perfect. The awkwardness and outbursts as he tries to restrain his feelings were funny but poignant. I've seen people pan Juliette Binoche for her part, but the chemistry between her and Steve was warm and wonderful. For those who doubt the kids' parts, I have two girls, and I bought it! A single parent becomes their children's scratching post sometimes. The struggle to become a PERSON again, and not just a parent was compassionately portrayed. I JUST LOVE THIS MOVIE!!
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5/10
Dan and the Family Stone
trigaba9 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw the spots for this picture, I was intrigued to see this hilarious-looking heart-warming comedy about a single father advice columnist trying to raise his 3 daughters. Awkward parenting situations leading to professional conflicts were well on their way.

Then I saw this picture, and it started off fine... Until Dan left his REAL LIFE and went to his parents' home where an exchange of significant-sibling-others takes place (sound familiar?). It's The Family Stone all over again, plain and simple. And anyone who thinks this film has anything to do with Dan's real life clearly either doesn't have a family or lives with their family (or most importantly, doesn't celebrate holidays with family they love but still rarely see).

More examples of a lack of real life? Dan's profession has practically nothing to do with the film. We see him typing up a column in the beginning, he mentions it a couple of times, there's the meeting, he talks about how he doesn't follow a column that I was not led to believe he could write, and that's about it. We never really hear any of the column, or him give any advice really. I really don't believe his column could even be that good from what this film gave me.

Then there's Dane Cook. I like Dane Cook, I think he's hilarious. But he appears once in the spots, so I figure it's like "Waiting..." where his plays a minor character in Dan's Real Life. But it turns out he plays a MAJOR roll in Dan's vacation, ensuing the Family Stone dynamic.

More false advertising continues when a scene in which his daughter his behind the wheel and a fun, hilarious driver's ed scene appears. This scene is a part of Dan's real life, and is therefor nowhere to be found in the final cut.

In short, there are many funny and heart-warmingly awkward moments, but if you enter expecting a struggling man dealing with the trials and tribulations of his real life and being a single father, you will be sorely disappointed. If you enter expecting a family-based romantic comedy that mirrors The Family Stone in more ways than one, you will enjoy this film very much.
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6/10
A decent film.
robinseb18 October 2007
Let me start by saying that I don't work for a film company, I am just a regular man who happened to see an early screening at the University of South Carolina last night.

With a cast of Dane Cook and Steve Carell (2 of the funniest people in Hollywood) I truly expected a laugh-out-loud comedy. When it became clear that this wasn't the case, I didn't give up on the movie. I started viewing it as a family movie for all ages. Even then, I wasn't completely overwhelmed by the film. There are several great scenes that leave you laughing (and sometimes crying). At the end of the day though, I'm glad it was a free showing. A few of my friends said they did enjoy it, but when I asked them if they would pay $8.50 to see it, they immediately declined.

Bottom line: It's a pretty decent movie for the family to go see. No vulgarity, a few laughs, and a few tear-jerking moments. Just don't expect Steve Carell from "The Office" and don't expect Dane Cook stand-up quality material.
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One of the best romcoms of the year
jdesando26 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Plan . . . to be surprised."

Those are the last words of advice columnwriter Dan Burns (Steve Carell), as true a bit of advice as he probably ever gave to his readers. For us viewers, there are no surprises in a classic setup where Dan has met a potential love, Marie (Juliette Binoche), only to discover she is his brother, Mitch's (Dane Cook) new girlfriend. What is surprising is that such an ordinary romcom should be the best romcom of the fall and one of the best of the year.

Dan In Real Life is the real deal about a single father of three very alive girls who hasn't found anyone in the four years since his late wife's sudden death. Although he's doing a credible job bringing up his babies (two teens and a pre-teen), they are independent minded and remind him of how authoritarian and clueless he is. And how he needs to fall in love. Fair enough for all of us who have been there because girls are merciless critics, far outstripping the most caustic film critic (sometimes this writer).

So, when at the family holiday on the Rhode Island shore he faces the reality that he loves his brother's girl, no easy solution, so easy in Hollywood terms, arises. The frustrations of two people in the wrong place but in love are gently woven into set pieces straight out of Royal Tenenbaums and Little Miss Sunshine, you know, the family skit showcasing the family eccentrics everyone, that kind of cuteness that comes off quite nicely to counterbalance the awkward moments, plenty of them, for Dan in the presence and absence of Marie.

Besides the deft touch of a director (Peter Hedges) who proved himself nimble with family in Pieces of April, th entire cast is perfect, no one more so than Carell, whose deadpan everyman with a leprechaun's reserves of charm has turned out to be what Jim Carey and Robin Williams often try to be—funny and lovable and flawed. No surprise—Carell has it all, even in real life.
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1/10
Boring, unrealistic, stereotypical, unoriginal, one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
schmidtmike555-14 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I'll start from the beginning. My first impression is that it's going to be a comedy, which ends up not being the case. I think I laughed maybe once or twice at parts that were supposed to be funny and at least ten more times at the parts that weren't.

We first see that Steve Carrell's daughter is your stereotypical whining teenager who is constantly screaming about love, which few teens speak of in real life. To top it off, her boyfriend seems to chase after the car as her father drives away, as if all people do that.

They then go to a family reunion where we meet some more lame stereotypes- a caring, loving, constantly smiling family that's painful to think of as realistic. When Steve finds out the girl he likes is his brother's girlfriend, he seems to throw a temper tantrum after finding out, making it blatantly obvious that he likes her in cases like when his brother sings her a love song and he finishes it for her, and yet his family can't figure out why. To punish him for throwing a fit, his parents make him do the dishes while they play a board game, as if he's a child. This could have been a funny joke if it was done correctly, but apparently it was a serious scene.

Steve talks with her in a bathroom about getting over it, but hides in the shower when Steve's daughter walks in to talk to her. Steve's love says she was just about to take a shower and while she talks with the daughter, gets naked and jumps in the shower while Steve is already in there. WHO ON EARTH WOULD DO THAT? WHY DIDN'T SHE JUST TALK WITH HER OUTSIDE? WHO FINDS THIS ORIGINAL, FUNNY OR REALISTIC IN ANY WAY?

Hoping to find out why Steve is acting strange, his parents ask him about his love life in the laundry room as a private conversation, when suddenly nearly the entire family walks in, apparently having to all do their laundry at the exact same time. Coincidence, or just bad writing? The stereotypical loving family set him up with a girl they invite and describe as pig-faced, and constantly make fun of her, singing songs about pigs knowing full well she could walk in at any moment, and whadayaknow, she walks in as soon as they finish singing, only to be, whadayaknow, a beautiful model, like in every movie, and Steve is, whadayaknow, interested in her now.

They go to a bar and start laughing and joking until she suddenly tells them her boyfriend was killed in an accident and starts crying into a handkerchief (which I haven't seen in years in real life) for five seconds until she decides to turn on a juke box and start slow dancing all sexily like a stereotypical hot girl. Cue a pointless dance sequence that lasts nearly five minutes. The brother's girlfriend for some reason gets jealous about this even though she's taken and never really seemed interested in Steve from the start, taking it out on Steve, but breaks up with the brother soon after.

In the middle of all this, Steve catches his daughter kissing her boyfriend and tells him to go home. Before he goes he tells Steve something in Spanish, then translates that it means something along the lines of "You can't stop true love" or something unbelievably cheesy like that. Why he told him in Spanish first, I have no freakin' clue. He drives away and his daughter chases after him uselessly and collapses in tears, screaming "I hate you" to her father, which makes the rest of the family angry at Steve for some reason. Who actually thinks this is original? Why doesn't anyone realize she's just a spoiled brat and Steve is the one who's really right?

Steve meets his love at a bowling alley and kisses her when suddenly the entire family walks in to go bowling, after doing aerobics, crosswords, lame talent shows, football, etc. together previously. Honestly, how many families do that much at family reunions? Not to mention this bowling alley was implied to have been abandoned when Steve took his daughter and two kids he seemingly kidnapped there earlier. His brother punches him even though he already broke up with her. Regardless, they get married in the end seemingly immediately after the reunion. What the hell...

This is a terrible movie, and I don't believe the score is really 7.1 out of 10. Do you honestly call this realistic? Who the hell made this awful movie?
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7/10
Carrying the Torch
ferguson-627 October 2007
Greetings again from the darkness. Director Peter Hedges' best work is "Pieces of April", a very edgy family drama/comedy that I have recommended to many. Although "Dan in Real Life" doesn't possess anywhere near the edginess of that film, it is an entertaining film with some clever moments ... though it is much more mainstream (by design).

Steve Carell stars as Dan, a widower father of three daughters. Just in case you have forgotten, the movie does remind you just how wicked teenage girls can be ... even the good ones. The film centers around the annual family reunion at the parents' (Dianne Weist, John Mahoney) beautiful summer house in Rhode Island. Although the film borrows material from many large family comdrams, there are a handful of moments and lines that prevent it from being a total remix. Odd casting does help.

Dane Cook and Emily Blunt have supporting roles that are both very well done. Personally I find it difficult to ever really like Dane Cook, but he controls his freak pretty well here. Ms. Blunt is a budding star (see "The Devil Wears Prada") and sooner or later, Hollywood will find the right roles to showcase her talents. By far the most outside the box casting occurs with Juliette Binoche in the pivotal role of Marie. Not to give too much away, but she does give new meaning to brotherly love.

Carell is fine and at least isn't falling into the one-trick pony career of Ben Stiller. He does have some range as an actor and hopefully will mix in a few dramas with the slapstick. Wouldn't call this anything close to a classic, but it is a movie families (not the youngsters) can watch together and be entertained ... nothing wrong with that.
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8/10
A Nutshell Review: Dan in Real Life
DICK STEEL29 December 2007
Comedian Steve Carell burst into mainstream prominence as the world's best know 40 Year Old Virgin, and popularity grew with his The Office US series. But a quick blip on the radar with Evan Almighty made us wonder if he will be able to sustain a series of successes given what I think is a dearth of funny comedians to hit the big screen of late - output seemed to have slowed a bit from the likes of Mike Myers, Ben Stiller (The Heartbreak Kid was not exactly really funny), Will Farell and even Jim Carrey, with whom Carell will be collaborating with in an animated feature in next year's Dr Horton Hears a Who.

I thought Dan in Real Life followed the Adam Sandler route with having to star in this year's equivalent of the latter's Spanglish, and does show that Carell the funnyman has some dramatic acting chops in him to commandeer this movie on his shoulders. Like Sandler, he has this everyday man appeal without the need for any hint of exaggeration, and this chummy buddy persona that makes him quite likable.

Steve Carell plays Dan the columnist who dispenses parenting advice in his newspaper column Dan in Real Life, where a routine day of the widower involves providing email counselling to his readers, and being the overprotective father to his three young daughters Jane, Cara and Lilly. Clearly while his love for them shows, his daddy nature goes overboard with not being convinced that one of them is old enough to drive under supervision, and another whose boyfriend and teenage puppy love infatuation stage he frowns upon. From the onset, his relationship with his daughters look set to improve given time out for an extended family get together in an out of town retreat, but as all romantic comedy dictates, he will meet a special somebody which will prove to be his undoing.

Well, not in a bad way of course. Sometimes when you think about it, the concept of the perfect soulmate does reside in timing. You might think that you've met that special someone, but the timing somehow just isn't right, and naturally things do not work out, even though you think that it might (who plans for a breakup from the start anyway?) Watching how smooth Dan is, his mark Ann Marie (Juliette Binoche, whom we last saw on screen opposite Jude Law in Breaking and Entering) spends an afternoon with Dan chatting (with the camera lingering at all angles imagined possible), and find that they click. Just like that. However, herein lies the complication, as it turns out, Marie is the girlfriend of Dan's brother Mitch (Good Luck Chuck himself), whom he brought along to introduce to all and sundry.

So now the question is, do you pretend that that spark of chemistry never existed, or like Mitch himself put it, so long as there's no rock on the finger, it's fair game? Here's where the fun in the movie comes in, with both parties trying to decide whether to tell, or play pretend amongst family members? And does each party think whether it's love, or just a passing stage of infatuation? The movie poses a number of questions, some of which the answers are fairly clear, depending on the values you subscribe to. But in pondering and reacting in a relatively childish manner, Dan does himself no favours, as he slowly slips into a mode of hypocrisy, becoming what he tells his daughters not to, and breaking almost all the rules he lays down for them.

Dan in Real Life serves up more dramatic moments with a focus on romance, rather than being an outright comedy. So for Carell fans who think that it's gonna be laugh a minute, think again. The ensemble cast playing the supporting roles of the extended family members are fun, but truth is there's so many of them that each get very little screen time. However, this is still a very charming movie about love, parental-child unconditional love, and an exhibition of the axiom that blood is indeed thicker than water. Farell and Binoche share top notch chemistry as a couple with secrets hidden between themselves, and their constant playing of games is a delight to watch. One of my favourite scenes involve a 4-way interaction at a diner that hit all the right notes, and another an insane and totally politically incorrect song involving pigs.

It's ultimately a feel good movie, so don't expect proceedings to go in too heavy and deep, as it skirts around the subplots it creates decently, with little surprises, playing out just like one will almost expect it to be. Given it's runtime, there are obvious scenes from the trailer that is left unused, which would probably appear in the DVD release. For Carell fans, and fans of family dramas with a dash of romance, this one comes recommended.

And here's THE song in the movie, as performed by Carell and Dane Cook. Will surely open the floodgates for sentimental folks when you hear their rendition!
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8/10
Plan to Be Surprised with a Delightful Movie
claudio_carvalho10 March 2009
The widower family man Dan Burns (Steve Carell) writes the column "Dan in Real Life" giving advices for families in The New Jersey Standard and raises his three daughters alone. Jane (Allison Pill), the older, has just got her driving license but Dan does not allow her to drive; Cara (Brittany Robertson) has a crush on his high-school mate Marty; and the young Lily (Marlene Lawston) misses her mother. When Dan and his daughters travel to Rhode Island for a family reunion, he meets Marie (Juliette Binoche) in a bookstore and they spend hours talking to each other. They feel attracted for each other, but Marie receives a phone call and leaves Dan, giving her phone number first. Dan immediately falls in love for Marie, but when he return to his parent's home, he finds that Marie is the girlfriend of his wolf brother Mitch Burns (Dane Cook), who is also in love with her. Along the weekend, the attraction between the clumsy Dan and Marie increases and they have to take a decision.

"Dan in Real Life" is a great surprise and a delightful movie, with comedy, romance and drama. The chemistry of the gorgeous Juliette Binoche and Steve Carell is awesome and it is very easy to know why everybody loves Marie. The trio Allison Pill, Brittany Robertson and Marlene Lawston is fantastic and their characters are responsible for some of the best moments of this story. The screenplay is wonderful and the performances of the talented actors and actresses are stunning, with a realistic behavior of a family meeting. Follow the advice of Dan's column and plan to be surprised with the reunion of the Burns' family. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Eu, Meu Irmão e Nossa Namorada" ("Me, My Brother and Our Girlfriend")
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10/10
Comedy of the Year!
lovinthishow24 October 2007
Wow!!!

There is usually one comedy a year that I enjoy. Last year it was Little Miss Sunshine, this year it is Dan in Real Life! If you like thoughtful humor, if you like Arrested Development, if you are in need of a good laugh, this is the movie for you! Steve Carrel is brilliant in this film and he plays the dad role so well. But more than anything I loved his three daughters. The middle child was absolutely hilarious. She had me in tears for more than half the film! There seemed to be such chemistry between all the family members in the film. Like I felt like I was watching my family on the big screen. I actually got the impression that a lot of the film was ab libbed because several times the actors themselves were laughing, which just made the viewer laugh even more. In short, You have to see this film!!!
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