Opening 20 Mar 2008
Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine, U.S. TV's The Office) and Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Chocolat) make an unlikely but wonderful pair trying not to fall in love in Dan in Real Life, a poignant romantic comedy from second-time director Peter Hedges (Pieces of April, screenwriter of About a Boy). Carell stars as Dan, a widowed advice columnist whose desire to maintain order is challenged by the three spirited daughters he is trying to raise alone. His life is trown into total chaos when he meets Marie (Binoche) in a chance encounter in a bookshop while spending the weekend with his large family on the Rhode Island coast. Sparks fly, but what happens when it turns out Marie is Dan's brother Mitch's (comedian Dane Cook) new girlfriend?
While the premise may sound like stereotypical screwball romantic comedy, Dan in Real Life is anything but. The best aspect of this film is how real all of the characters seem. The wonderful ensemble of actors (including Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney as the heads of the large family, as well as Norbert Leo Butz and Emily Blunt) do a fabulous job embracing their characters – quirks and all – and make us embrace them as well. But the highest praise goes to Carell and Binoche, who have great chemistry while playing characters very different from their usual roles. In the end, Dan in Real Life is worth taking a couple hours out of your life to enjoy. (Kirsten Greco)