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[Until I have more time to gather my thoughts on the movies I saw at the New Orleans Film Festival, I will return to reviewing other movies.] 

To you, Fellow Film Lover,

You like Steve Carell; I like Steve Carell. You like Dane Cook and don’t think he’s overrated; I… agree to disagree.

So who is going to like Dan in Real Life? Not anyone who likes an intriguing story, because this movie is lacking one greatly. Certainly not loyal fans of Carell: they tend to have good taste. Even if you are a fan of Dane Cook, you’ll be disappointed that he doesn’t do stuff in a very Dane-Cook fashion. So, if no one is going to like this movie, why was it made?

I’m not really sure why some studio boss decided to green-light this movie. Other than the cast, there’s nothing appetizing about Dan in Real Life. Any movie with Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dianne Wiest, and John Mahoney should be a hit. Right? Unfortunately, no. The characters are boring, and… that’s about all I can say. I stopped taking notes because there was nothing to say about the movie except that it was boring.

I hate seeing boring movies because there’s nothing to discuss. My least favorite film at the film festival, Alan Cumming’s Suffering Man’s Charity, garnered two pages of notes, but at least it was bizarre. Yet during Dan in Real Life, boredom transferred from the screen to my notes. As I read my scribblings before writing this review, I realized I just wrote the same thing over and over again.

I really disliked the movie, but I can’t even call it a train-wreck because it doesn’t have any ambition. The characters, setting, and conflicts have no flavor to them whatsoever. Therefore, I don’t even want to say what the movie is about, because it may actually entice you the see the movie. The main conflict had comedic potential, but it’s handled seriously (and much better) in Louis Malle’s Damage (also starring Juliette Binoche).

I was incredibly stumped when I had to write a review for Dan in Real Life. I decided to then write a letter, a firm warning to you that you’ll be sorry if you see this movie, disappointed that you wasted your time and hard-earned money. My quote for the movie was, “The movie has a sweet heart and a good message, but, aside from its title, it has no life.” What an understatement. The movie is a decapitated zombie: it was dead, but now it’s really, really dead.

So be daring this weekend. Instead of playing it safe and going to the multiplex, travel to your local video store and rent an old movie (something before you were born). Venture to the library’s foreign film section and pick out something you usually wouldn’t care to watch (it’s free!) Expand your mind instead of feeling it contract while watching a pile of trash like Dan in Real Life.


Joey Laura


One Comment

  1. This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen.
    The story was fake and contrived, I only wanted all of the characters to get in a car
    wreck, with the master of this horrible and fake movie and have it destoyed.
    This movie has no heart, and I only wanted it to end, or commit suiside.

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