It’s always gratifying when you see a movie that could
be a lesser film because of the premise or that could have
tripped over its own gags succeeds beyond anyone’s expectations.
“Dan in Real Life” is an example of that pleasant surprise.
Unlike “Evan Almighty” possible the worst film that came
out last year, Steve Carrell truly shines in a deft performance
that mixes comedy and pathos. Carrell plays the title character
Dan a advice columnist for a newspaper who struggles to
raise his three daughters after his wife died. Dan meets
the love of his life Anne-Marie (Juliette Binoche) unfortunately
she’s the girlfriend of his younger brother (Dane Cook).
As Dan and his family meet at his parents house, he and
Anne-Marie find themselves drawn each other and have to
hide it in the midst of all the activity at the house. ***
There’s plenty of comedy to compliment the romantic
elements of the film and director/writer Peter Hedges balances
the two nicely with his leads integrating these moments
very, very well. Hedges doesn’t miss a beat and the film
is admirably edited keeping the focus on the emotional and
comedic beats of the film. ---
Image & Sound:
“Dan in Real Life” looks positively stunning at times.
The New England locations are beautifully captured in all
its splendor. Interior scenes also look exceptionally sharp
and crisp with nice natural looking colors. ***
Audio sounds terrific although the 5.1 mix as is typical
in a film of this sort isn’t used to maximum effect until
there’s a bit of action or outdoors where there’s plenty
of ambient effects. ---