Dan in Real Life

I think I've liked just about everything I've seen Steve Carell in over the past few years and Dan in Real Life is no exception. It's not really surprising anymore to see comedians make the leap to more dramatic roles, some with more success than others. What's great about Carell is that he has a good feel for balance such that his performances never feel inappropriate, over the top, or self-indulgent. So, certainly, this movie has that going for it. Even more than Carell, though, what I really loved about this movie was the feeling of family that it evoked for me. In so many "family reunion"-type films the plot is driven by either a newcomer trying unsuccessfully to fit in (e.g. Meet the Parents or The Family Stone) or by dysfunction or in-fighting (e.g. The Royal Tenenbaums or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). What felt so refreshing about Dan in Real Life was that the family, despite at times being annoying or intrusive, genuinely loved each other and tried to do right by each other. It really made me nostalgic for the vacations my own family took when I was a kid. Overall, the film was both funny and touching and I really enjoyed it.

Viewed: 10/25/2007 | Released: 10/25/2007 | Score: A-

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