Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dan In Real Life

Dan writes an advice column called "Dan in Real Life". He's a widower with 3 daughters- all playing typecast roles for a reason- who goes to Rhode Island for the family weekend and meets his brother's new girl (Juliette Binoche) in a book store, only to fall in love without realizing who she is. It goes on from there. Steve Carrell is really wonderful in this because the role was written for him. The story is very sweet, contrived and predictable - all those things make the movie just swell! And I mean that. It is about a family, contains no stupid political motivations, ends up the right way (oh come on, you KNEW it would), and makes people laugh out loud. It's been critiqued as being "not real life". Well, I'm sure those film critics thought A Wonderful Life, Sleepless In Seattle were ALL documentaries or something. Why should any romantic comedy be like real life? Who the hell would watch that? The semi-recent spate of crummy romantic movies (usually involving Dianne Keaton or Sarah Jessica Parker or Cameron Diaz) has almost ruined the genre. But when we watch this movie, we wish that was our wise and funny mom and dad, and that we could lose a spouse with such grace and dignity, and that our kids were rebellious without being possessed (oh okay, mine were not possesed- not at all- but you know what I mean). And that is what this movie does. The only thing it didn't have was fireworks at the end- over a scenic lake. But it was close. Alex pronounced it wonderful. And if it feels odd- that's because it feels like a PLAY and not a film. That only adds to the experience.