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“Carell has a home office”

_ Dan in Real Life_ Title: Dan in Real Life

For a romantic comedy to work there must be likeable characters with online chemistry and believability. In real life no one is perfect and you want your character’s flaws to add to their personality and not distract too much from it. Dan in Real Life pretty much does all of these mentioned. There are warnings everywhere for guys stating “Beware! This is a chick flick and not a Carell comedy!” That is sort of true but if anything it is a guy flick in that it is as much about fatherhood and family as romance. I would think it a perfect father daughter film. What a better way to spend time with your offspring and maybe even spark a few elements of conversation.

Dan (Steve Carell) is a single father of three daughters who spends several days at an annual get together with the large extended family. While there he deals with his teenage daughter’s angst and hormones as well as his own desires when he finds himself infatuated with his brother’s (Dane Cook) new girlfriend (Juliette Binoche). He has to choose the right formula of father, brother and human male. The family aspect makes it a romantic comedy with a deeper side. And one that is brought out by not only the directing but the genuine nature of the entire cast.

Though similar to other films in its plot and script, Dan In Real Life is a step above. Carell is not simply, and one dimensionally the Michael Scott most know him as. He adds sincerity in acting that makes you believe his character and relate to his emotions. He adds the Real Life to this film in making Dan a normal guy struggling with normal issues. It’s not over played or dumbed down. I was worried about his chemistry with Binoche and how she would fit in a triangle with this generation’s Carell and Cook. But she was perfect. Her natural beauty and warmth made her character exactly what the script intended.

Dan in Real Life is rated PG-13 for some innuendo. I think this is a stretch and I think it is a safe film for anyone 11 and up. True the romantic elements and serious decisions may bore your younger viewer, but there is little to find offensive. If anything I loved the feel this movie brings of family and quality togetherness. As we enter the Holidays it is a nice reminder that time spent laughing and playing with those we hold dear can fix many an issue and make real life quite dandy. I give this film a solid 4 out of 5 pancakes. It is fun, romantic, and genuinely entertaining.

“Matt Mungle is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and co-hosts a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

Review copyright 2007 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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