It’s a rare movie that makes me want to start it over again right after the end credits roll. But the movie I watched last night sure did. If someone were to ask me what was good about it, my response would be "everything!"
What’s even more surprising to me is that I didn’t actually WANT to see this movie in the first place.
Dan in Real Life stars Steve Carrell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, and Diane Weist among others. And it was that casting that turned me off. I’ve never been a fan of either Carrell or Cook or their brands of humor, figuring that every character they play is the same. But I’ve changed my mind. Dan in Real Life gave both men the chance to shine playing normal everyday people, and they did it brilliantly.
What can I tell you about this movie that wont ruin it for you? It isn’t really a comedy or a romance- its something in between. Its lots of stories rolled into one, all of them about relationships.
The story centers around Dan, a widowed newspaper columnist raising three young daughters. A man who’s arranged his life and career so he can be a stay at home father to two teens and a tween who run his world. One of whom is just getting her drivers license and another who is madly deeply in love for the first time, as only a teen can be.
It’s the story of a large family gathered for Thanksgiving. Two grandparents, three adult siblings, a spouse, a new girlfriend, and at least 6 grandkids all under one house for a week. Parents are parents, kids are kids – even if they have kids of their own, and brothers are brothers no matter what. They are all over-involved in each others lives, especially Dan’s. And they all mean well.
Now add a chance meeting in a book store. Out of the blue and totally unexpected, it could add a whole new layer of complicated to Dan’s life, if he lets it. But there are some things you just can’t fight, no matter how hard you try.
If you like movies about real life – with all its problems, quirks and humor, this one is definitely worth your time.