Saturday, October 27, 2007
Review: "Dan in Real Life"
Last night my four kids and I, joined by Kevin's two college roommates (Steve and Calvin), had a fine Mexican dinner, and then we all went to a late-night showing of Steve Carrell's latest romantic comedy, Dan in Real Life.
As compared to The 40 Year Old Virgin, Carrell dials his performance down a couple of notches on the pathetically dorky-intensity dial — to good effect in my opinion (as another dorky 40-something guy trying to identify with him). In this one, Carrell plays Dan Burns, the single father of three (predictably precocious and adorable) teen girls, so presumably he's already had sex before the movie begins — but that's also (predictably) many years in the past, and he's (predictably) still pining for the (predictably) beloved and deceased (not just divorced, which would have complicated things) wife.
As Dan's new love interest Marie, Juliette Binoche provides further evidence for Beldar's Theory of Accents, which holds that Americans universally find members of the opposite sex who have English, Scottish, Irish, or French accents to be more attractive and interesting. But her performance and Carrell's are nicely matched and mutually convincing. The rest of the large ensemble cast (mostly Dan's large extended family, spouses, and kids) also contribute solid performances in their supporting roles.
(Below, left to right, after the movie: Kevin's roommates at U of H, Calvin and Steve, then Adam, Sarah, Molly, and Kevin.)
The movie has only one car crash; its single chase scene fizzles; everyone alive at the beginning of the movie is alive at the end. If you described this movie as "low key," you might be over-hyping it. And I doubt that any of us will remember this movie in anything other than vague terms in five years. Frankly, you probably won't suffer much by waiting for it on cable/satellite or DVD.
But given the convivial company I was amongst, and given our agreeable post-meal mood, the movie was entertaining roughly in proportion to the ticket prices, and I don't regret picking it among the available options.
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I'm waiting to see how Carrell does in the new "Get Smart" movie. If he's a reasonable substitute for Don Adams he'll have a new fan. The trailer I saw on YouTube looks promising.
BTW: Nice-looking kids.
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