Dan in Real Life - Dan in What Passess for Real Life
| It happens to all comedians who reach a certain level of film success. They make the leap from goofster to charming leading man. For Steve Carell, Dan in Real Life is his vehicle to become just another Tom Hanks, Adam Sandler, or Robin Williams. Does he make it? Sure he does, by being very charming in this very standard romantic comedy.
Dan in Real Life doesn’t offer audiences anything new. This story of a man who must forgo the woman he just fell for because it turns out she’s his brother’s girl friend, is amiable but run-of-the-mill. It’s the kind of romantic comedy where you know it will all work out okay, the jokes are safe and smile (but not guffaw) inducing, and the situation is just ridiculous enough to keep the lovers apart for about 100 minutes. You’ve seen it a hundred times before.
But it does make us smile. Carell transforms himself just far enough from his Office and Almighty roles to be leadingman-ish without taking us so far out that he’s not recognizable. He shows us a little of the depth he displayed in Little Miss Sunshine without taking us too far down the dark path.
The movie gives us plenty of “aw shucks” moments and makes us want to hug each other. That’s all and for most audiences, that’s all they want on a Saturday night. Dan in Real Life delivers.
For those hoping Carell would stick to more interesting roles, they will be disappointed. However, Dan in Real Life doesn’t embarrass the actor and leaves his so far promising career in tact.
It also marks one step closer to mainstream marketability for Dane Cook who seems determined to leave behind his angry fratboy persona for a much more marketable everyman kind of guy that he’s been playing lately.
I don’t know what kind of "real life" exists where Steve Carell gets Juliette Binoche, or where she chooses him over Dane Cook, but it makes for a pleasant, if disposable, place to visit in Dan in Real Life.