Dan In Real Life

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner9/01/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Enjoyable, emotionally engaging and frequently hilarious comedy drama with a superb script and terrific performances from its ensemble cast.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Peter Hedges (who made indie hit Pieces of April), Dan In Real Life stars Steve Carell as newspaper columnist Dan Burns, who's struggling to raise his three daughters (Alison Pill, Brittany Robertson and Marlene Lawston) after the death of his wife, four years previously. However, while visiting his parents (Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney) for an extended family get-together, Dan falls for a beautiful French woman (Juliette Binoche) he flirts with in a bookshop, only to discover, to his horror, that she's dating his younger brother (Dane Cook).

The Good
The performances are excellent, particularly Steve Carell, who isn't afraid to occasionally show Dan in a less than sympathetic light. He also has genuine chemistry with Juliette Binoche, who's equally good, delivering an utterly charming performance that somehow allows you to forgive the fact that she's flirting outrageously with her boyfriend's older brother.

In addition, there's terrific support from Alison Pill (as level-headed older sister Jane) and from Dianne Wiest and a decidedly frail-looking John Mahoney as Dan's overbearing parents, while even the normally punchable Dane Cook (from Good Luck Chuck) turns in a likeable performance. There's also a scene-stealingly sexy cameo from Emily Blunt, even if it is a little hard to believe that her character would be after Dan (who's old enough to be her dad) rather than his younger brother.

The Great
Hedges' superb script crackles with laugh-out-loud dialogue and even manages to breathe new life into the old hide-in-the-shower routine. Similarly, as a director, Hedges brings a real air of believability to the various family interactions and the emotional scenes are genuinely affecting as a result.

Worth seeing?
In short, Dan In Real Life is a hugely enjoyable comedy / drama that delivers a good balance of laugh-out-loud comedy and strong emotional moments. Highly recommended.

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Dan In Real Life
Dan In Real Life has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 19/12/2018 13:33

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