November 4, 2007
"Dan in Real Life" is a heartwarming romantic comedy starring Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche. Too bad it hasn't found its audience. I was in the theatre with two other people, and we were all laughing and crying during the movie. The supporting cast includes John Mahoney, Dianne Wiest, Norbert Leo Butz (who gets to play the piano and sing oh so briefly) and a bonus scene-stealing-as-usual Emily Blunt. If you liked writer/director Peter Hedges' s "Pieces of April" (which I did), then you'll enjoy this one. Steve is a widower with three daughters (His kids are great...yes, even the whiny middle child in her hormonal,nobody-understands-me rants). He falls in love with his brother's new girlfriend during a vacation at his parents' Rhode Island home. Your heart breaks when he picks up the guitar and sings to her later on in the film. Mr. Carell is tense and awkward yet ultimately charming and endearing. I think he is the next Tom Hanks/Mr. Nice Guy who's adept at both comedic and dramatic roles. (In his interviews he comes off as a really amiable and down-to-earth guy. Read this.)Ms. Binoche's character says at the beginning that she's looking for something that's not laugh out loud funny but human funny. This could well be this character-driven comedy picture's mission statement. And the filmmakers have succeeded.