Rated PG-13 for Adult Innuendo
It seems all his best lines were yours… this is unbearable. -Marie
Dan Burns is a local advice columnist who also happens to be a widower with three daughters to raise. Each year his family gets together for a fun hiatus, and Dan takes a leave along with his daughters. Once he arrives his family spends the majority of their time embracing each other and having a happy, loving, good time. Everyone except Dan. His family begins to push him in the direction of the door and suggests he go find a woman, and when he refuses they send him away for the day where he by chance runs into a woman in a book store who strikes his fancy. They spend the afternoon together and Dan begins to realize that maybe someday he can love again, and then he discovers she is in a relationship. Later that night he learns the relationship is with his brother Mitch. And suddenly his family vacation becomes even more complicated.
I have no idea why Steve Carell agreed to do this movie. I hope he was offered a bundle of money and decided that was a good enough reason, because Dan In Real Life was one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year. The first scene of boredom set the pace for the entirety of the film. Dan Burns is a widower with a permanent frown and three bratty and ungrateful daughters who are preparing to take their yearly trip for family time.
Even more so, the woman who’s supposed to change his world and the way he views things, that alters his solid sense of morality, has absolutely no chemistry with him. Any feelings of romance between them was lost on me.
The scene with the Lighthouse that was supposed to be touching and profound, really just came off as cliche and forced. In scenes like this the relationship of Dan with his daughter’s feels beyond distant. In fact, there were moments when Dan seemed more like a cut off sociopath weirdo rather than a sympathetic man who had lost his way.
It was never apparent if the film was trying to be funny or trying to be sentimental and there was no rhyme or reason behind most of the bizarre interludes of the characters it seemed even more lost.
I don’t feel like the actors are to blame for any of this. Even Dane Cook wasn’t over the top annoying, which tells me something else was awry. The screenplay just felt like there was no heart or creative force behind it. The happy family scenes felt like The Brady Bunch thirty years later and not as funny. The forced perfect family except for Dan just was not plausible, along with all of the stories realtionships. Meet The Parents had more integrity and truth to it than Dan In Real Life.
- Steve Carell as Dan Burns
- Dane Cook as Mitch Burns
- Juliette Binoche as Marie
- Alison Phil as Jane Burns
- Britney Robertson as Cara Burns
- Marlene Lawsten as Lilly Burns
- Diane West as Nan Burns
- John Mahoney as Papa Burns
Each of the cast members played their parts well, there just wasn’t any real sustenance behind any of the character’s to find any of them as something more than a card board standup with a voice over behind them. It’s because the script and direction was that mind numbing. Even if the relationship between Dan and Marie had carried some form of chemistry it might have pulled this film off, but there was none, and that’s not necessarily due to the acting of Juliette Binoche or Steve Carell. I believe it had a lot more to due with the script and the way the film was structured. As much as I adore Steve Carell and like Juliette Binoche the two came off as awkward and uncomfortable with each other.
Ratings and Suggestions
Though the film is rated PG-13 because there is some small amounts of sexual innuendo, I think it would go over most young kids heads. However, I couldn’t imagine a child stomaching this slow paced sad excuse for a sentimental romance story anyway. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone. It was a complete waste of my time and is a movie that I can’t even laugh about how bad it was afterwards. I am just annoyed. However I will rate it a half star and that’s only due to the shocking surprise that Dane Cook was not the most annoying thing about this movie. Half a Star out of Four.