Dan in Real Life (2007) starred Steve Carrell as an advice columnist, single-father to three daughters, following the untimely death four years ago of his wife. As the film begins, Dan is bundling up his brood for a traditional annual trip to his parents home on the Bay in Rhode Island, where a family reunion awaits them. Dan has pretty much focused exclusively on his duties as a father and as a writer, leaving no time for an emotionally satisfying life of his own. After they all get to Rhode Island, Dan has the opportunity to escape for a few hours. Hanging out in a bookstore, Dan connects unexpectedly with Marie, who's passing through on her way to join her boyfriend. Dan falls hard for Marie after only a few hours, and learns to his dismay (once he returns to the homestead) that she was on her way to his own family reunion...she's his brother Mitch's new girlfriend. Complications, of course, arise when they both realize the strength of the attraction they each feel for each other, and straight-arrow Dan must try, for his brother's sake, to not be attracted to Marie...a hopeless cause. Throw in lots of emotional angst, a small amount of physical slapstick humor, an awkward teen romance, and tons of family "togetherness" and you've got Dan in Real Life. All in all, I found this film to be a sweet charmer, with just enough goofy humor to make it not-quite-sappy. If you're looking for a nice family comedy/drama with some good performances, especially from Steve Carrell. I recommend this one. Oh, and the DVD extras include 20 minutes of deleted scenes, many of which I thought would have been fine if left in the film. [A side note -- this film had a marvelous soundtrack, also available for checkout at the library!] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library
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