Director: Peter Hedges
Cast: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane
Cook, John Mahoney, Emily Blunt
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Shaw
Official Website: http://daninreallife.movies.go.com
Opening Day: 10 January 2008
OUR REVIEW OF "DAN IN REAL LIFE" OFFICIAL MOTION
Advice columnist Dan Burns is an expert on relationships,
but somehow struggles to succeed as a brother, a son and a
Mention the name of a certain actor called Adam Sandler, and
people think of slapstick comedies and coarse toilet jokes.
But all it takes is one movie like Punch Drunk Love (2002)
for us to realize that the guy can do more than just comedy.
Mention the name of another actor called Steve Carell, and
people think of the poor lad having his chest hair waxed off
in The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) and birds pooping on his
head in Ewan Almighty (2007).
here it is, a film that will have people realizing that the
Saturday Night Live host can be a wonderful actor in dramas
by Peter Hedges (Pieces of April), this 98-minute dramedy
tells the story of Dan Burns, a widower who works aunt agony
columnist and devotes his life to taking care of his three
daughters. When a visit to his parents’ home for an
annual reunion turns into a life-changing experience, he realizes
that he isn’t an expert when it comes to being a good
father, a good son and a good brother at the same time; and
managing relationships isn’t that easy at all.
show clearly belongs to Carell, who plays the titular character
with his signature deadpan expressions and quote-worthy one-liners.
The extra punch the funnyman packs into his role this time
round is the affecting charm which makes it hard for you not
to empathize with Dan. Oscar winner Juliette Binoche (The
English Patient, Paris Je T’aime) plays a woman Dan
meets at a bookstore and falls in love with. The problem is,
she is her brother’s girlfriend, and the two have to
work out their awkward connection. The sweet chemistry between
the French actress and the comedian is a pleasant surprise
that will have you smiling. Also, watch out for Dane “Good
Luck Chuck” Cook, who plays Dan’s brother. The
scene where the two brothers perform a duet at the family
reunion is so heartwarming; you may begin reflecting on your
own relationship with your siblings.
script co-written by the director himself and Pierce Gardner
is evidently an attempt to make the movie sentimental enough
for the viewers to gush at its syrupy setups, but it works.
Hedges, whose writing credits include About a Boy (2002) and
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), knows how to capture
the hearts of his audiences with predictable but emotionally
uplifting plots. You will want to cheer on Dan, after all
the unfortunate ordeals he has gone through. In fact, you
may even wish you were Dan yourself.
accessible movie also effectively uses music written by guitarist-singer-songwriter
Sondre Lerche (he has a cameo at the end of the movie). A
fan of the Norwegian, director Hedges has nicely incorporated
many of his songs into the picture. Listen out for songs like
the appropriately-titled “I’ll be OK” and
“My Hands are Shaking” during some of the key
scenes in the movie. The pleasing music may also make you
wish that it’s the soundtrack of your life.
(The comedy is as wonderful as life itself)
Review by John Li