Sep 26, 2008

"Dan in Real Life"

This story has been probably done a million times. Guy meets girl, guy finds out girl is brother's girlfriend, guy pines, girl pines, eventual family drama. You know how it goes.

What is refreshing about this flick is Steve Carell. Everyone who is anyone watching television in the past few years has to note that this guy is nothing short of a quiet, unassuming genius. Unlike Jim Carrey, who has the loud, rambunctious act to his personality (I like him anyway though) or witty, dead-pan humor like Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Carell adds that awkward, very-human, sensitive bit to comedy. He's extremely versatile though but his niche is in the roles he's done as the pausing-too-much kinda guy, the often-ignored, talking-to-self characters such as Little Miss Sunshine, Get Smart and even Evan Almighty. Those were serious roles with the humorous edges to them and Carell did them extremely well.

The story revolves around Dan, an advice columnist for a local paper, living with his three daughters and struggling through each day after the demise of his wife. On a fateful weekend when he takes his daughters down to a family get-together, he meets Marie (Juliette Binoche). Playful, fun to be with and plenty of sparks that alight their conversation in which Dan finds himself talking about his most personal and deeply felt thoughts to a stranger.

What is more fateful is that the stranger isn't a stranger at all - she's his brother's girlfriend whom he's brought to meet the family.


Steve Carell, I repeat, has done this role remarkably well. A little too well in fact for a story that was basically cliched and not quite well executed. It lacked the pizzazz for the romcom and didn't really cut it as a slightly-poignant romantic tale. However if you see it the way I did - being a die-hard Carell and Binoche fan - you're bound to love it much more than if you'd seen the same flick with Delmort Mulroney and Sarah Jessica Parker.

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