Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dan in Real Life

"Dan in Real Life" is a somewhat lukewarm film that is built around Steve Carrell making an idiot of out himself and being an awkward father. Carrell plays Dan Burns, a columnist, widower, and father. He has three children, and he's being overprotective, awkward, and a "murderer of love." When Dan goes to Rhode Island for a family reunion, he meets Marie (Juliette Binoche), a French beauty. When he tells the old fam about his newfound girlfriend, he in fact can't: Marie is his brother Mitch's (Dane Cook) girl. It goes down the tubes from here. He continues his secret relationship. While this is going on, we get to see the Burns family. The weird, wacky Burns family. Not cardboard cutouts, for once. They do all sorts of random stuff, like competitive crossword puzzling, family football, and cardio. You know that phrase "you could be this family"? Well, in this case, you probably wouldn't be. This weird family takes a loving to Marie and Mitch, something that Dan is sad about. His mother sets up a date for him with longtime old friend, Ruthie "Pigface" Draper, inspiring laughs and songs. If I say anymore, I'll have described the whole movie. What I should say is that Carrell is fine, Binoche makes things good, and Cook actually stands out with a laugh out loud performance. The script can't keep up with these guys, though, and it's flat and flatter, especially when it comes to Dan's daughters. Some say it's not a typical romantic comedy, and they're right, but what's important is that it's not a great romantic comedy. B

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