REVIEW: DAN IN REAL LIFE


CAST

Steve Carell (Get Smart)
Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland)
Dane Cook (Good Luck Chuck)
Emily Blunt (The Huntsman)
Juliette Binoche (Godzilla)
John Mahoney (Frasier)
Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands)
Norbert Leo Butz (The English Teacher)
Jessica Hecht (The Winning Season)
Amy Ryan (Changeling)
Frank Wood  (The Taking of Pellham 123)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)

Dan Burns is a newspaper advice columnist, a widower, and single-parent to his three girls. The family takes a trip to the rambling, Rhode Island home of his parents for an annual family gathering. Also in attendance are Dan’s sister and brother with their families and Dan’s younger brother Mitch.
The morning after their arrival, Dan meets Marie in a bookshop. They share a muffin and a heart-felt chat, although Marie gently warns Dan that she has a boyfriend. Dan returns to his parents’ house and announces that he has ‘met someone’. Brother Mitch introduces his new girlfriend Annie. Lo and behold, Dan’s Marie is Mitch’s Annie. Dan is disheartened and resists his father’s relationship advice about finding someone of his own.
Dan reluctantly agrees to a foursome dinner with their once unattractive childhood friend, “pig-faced” Ruthie. Marie jealously watches Dan and Ruthie. The next morning, Dan endures her ‘punishment’ for his late night with Ruthie by eating the burnt pancakes which she serves him. Marie and Dan meet to talk at a bowling alley. The meeting evolves into a date and finally a passionate kiss, but unfortunately Dan’s entire family arrives to bowl. Mitch punches Dan in the face, and Marie hurries out
The plot resolves with Dan and his daughters going to New York City, where they finally find Marie at her gym. As he makes eye contact with her, Dan, in voice-over, tells the readers of his advice column that instead of merely planning ahead in life, they should “plan to be surprised”. The film ends with Dan and Marie celebrating their wedding at his parents’ Rhode Island home, and Mitch happily dancing with Ruthie.Dan in Real Life is a great film, a fantastic escape from the redundancy of offensive and dumbed-down comedies. The quality of the writing, directing, acting, and (especially) cinematography is excellent. It is simply a beautiful, light-hearted comedy.

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