Dan in Real Life is a very cute movie starring Steve Carell. I’m a fan of The Office, but I think that Carell has been an uneven performer. He was quite good in Little Miss Sunshine, but that movie had an ensemble of excellent performances. I wasn’t quite sure he could carry a movie, although he did a credible job in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
In this movie, he is helped a great deal by Dane Cook, who plays his younger brother. Cook’s character, Mitch, is a lovable happy-go-lucky womanizer (is there really such a thing?). But he is quite amusing, if predictable. Carell’s Dan Burns is a widower with three daughters who, at a family reunion in Rhode Island, falls in love with his brother’s new girlfriend, played by Juliette Binoche.
There are many other characters in this large family, including some very cute children, but their names are irrelevant and impossible to remember. And this family is the ideal of the large, close, happy family. They eat meals together, play games, they generally all get along, and the children are extremely well-behaved. Even Dan’s wayward daughter, Cara, is not so bad.
Overall, this was fun, funny, a little sad, and quite sweet. A real bonus is that Dan in Real Life can be enjoyed and appreciated by almost all ages.