Monday, June 09, 2008

Dan in Real Life (2007)

Pretty unremarkable movie. Everything is so average.

The scenario seems fresh, but the execution doesn't bring anything new to the table. Steve Carrell plays an advice columnist who, get this, doesn't have his own life together! Ha! A million laffs. And he goes on a vacation with his family and falls in love with his brother's new girlfriend. What will happen?? Nothing exciting. In fact, most of the entertaining moments seemed pulled right out of Meet the Parents 3 (uh-oh, casual sport with the family taken too seriously? And now he has to hide in the shower! And then the woman he secretly loves has to get in with him! Then he escapes out the window and falls off the roof! I wonder if, by the end, he'll end up hurting everyone he loves by lying and letting them all down, only to end up happy by the end because we know he really deserves it?? Maaaaaybe!).

I didn't get how I was supposed to feel about his middle daughter. She's a horrible brat who is desperately "in love" with some guy. She's supposed to be 16, I think. Dan is constantly shutting her down and telling her that she can't be in love after only 3 days, yet by the end he has fallen for Juliette in only 3 days, so he...admits he was wrong? Except he was right, and his daughter is just a crazy emotional teenager. Throughout movie she acts like a typical bratty teen girl, but at the end the writer is trying to tell us that, "Hey, guys, maybe she really is in love. Hm yeah good learnings. All her crazy stuff? Genuine. Mm. Yeah. You judged her, didn't you? Just like Dan. And now you see that you were WRONG. She just wants to love." What? Why did you spend the whole movie making her annoying?

That sounds like I really hated it, but I didn't. I want those 2 hours of my life back, but not in a Musketeer sort of way. I just would rather have done something different.


jeri said...

Huh. I actually kind of liked it. I liked the dynamic of the family (however odd it was that they were able to think of so many activities to do out of the blue). I liked the connection between Binoche and Carell. I especially liked the annoying depiction of teenage daughters, which seemed pretty accurate, and loved the line "You are a murderer of love!"

_Shane said...

Interesting take. I actually really enjoyed it as well and felt it was pretty genuine. I loved the music in it as well.

As far as the teenage daughter goes I have a really different perspective on it. Annie and I started "going out" our sophomore year of high school and for much of the following three years our parents were telling us the same thing. That we weren't really in "love" and we didn't know what love really is. Yet, here we are almost 15 years later happily married with a family of our own. I appreciated the way they handled the character. Sure she was immature and annoying at times but weren't we all at that age. I think the point they were trying to make was that though she may be immature that doesn't invalidate her feelings or make them any less real.

Sorry.. I didn't intend to write that much. Just trying to offer a different perspective. Thanks for sharing, even if I don't agree I love to get different opinions on movies!

Nobody said...

I'm glad Shane has reminded us that sometimes teenage romances do work out, but in terms of the movie I wonder how great it would have been if the daughter, after seeing how stupid her dad had acted for three days trying to steal his brother's fiancee (or whatever, I haven't seen it), had admitted to her dad at the end that he was right about her: after seeing a reflection of herself in her father she realizes that claiming to be in love after three days is proof of stupidity.

Ryan said...

Shane, yours is a beautiful story, to be sure. :) Matt and Amy also dated in high school! It's true that their love shouldn't be falsified just because they're young.

Did you and Andrea act like that girl and guy, though? Did you guys declare your love to everyone after a few days? I know we were all dumb as teenagers, but I'd like to think I would never have acted as insane as those two (given the chance).

It didn't help that we never saw why they were in love. Perhaps if it had been a different movie that focused on their relationship, we could go, "Yeah, I can see that." But when all we're shown is their declarations and time table, it comes off like Romeo and Juliet: impetuous lust disguised as love. "Oh Rosalyn, Rosalyn I love you so much HOLY CRAP WHO IS THAT?? I love you, Whatever-Your-Name-Is!" "I love you too, First Boy To Come Along! Let's get married and into bed as soon as possible!"

Nobody also raises an interesting question: had the one daughter not been going through the same thing, would all of his daughters supported his 3-day love? Especially after stealing her from his brother?

jeri said...

Not all teenagers were as cool as we were at that age, but many are drama queens. I've known plenty of those.

Ric told me after the movie that he thought the girls were exaggerated, but I just told him he'll learn when he has a daughter of his own.

Ryan said...

Ha! Amy looked over at me after one of the daughter's outbursts and said, "I don't want to have girls."

Amanda Mae said...

I really liked the soundtrack, which is why I saw it.

but then, I just like Sondre Lerche and went to Sundance giddy at the thought I'd get to meet him.

I did find the screaming middle daughter unbearable, and your Meet the Parents reference is apt, but the whole film felt soooo CASUAL that it didn't bother me too much.