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Mon, Nov 20, 2017 09:17 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Binoche is saving grace of Touchstone's Dan in Real Life


by DNA Smith


ARH
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11/28/2007 - "Dan in Real Life"

Running time: 95 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13

"Dan in Real Life" is a nice movie about nice people. It's funny, but not Ha-Ha funny, or gross, or mean, or vulgar, or quirky in the way that most indie comedies feel they need to be these days. It's just nicely funny. If funny were an ice cream, this movie would be a flavor that's more vanilla than vanilla. It would taste like Connecticut.

"Dan in Real Life" is also rife with cliches. Don't believe me? Allow me to elucidate: Steve Carell stars as the titular Dan, a widower father of three girls and a failed novelist who now writes an advice column. That description alone should speak volumes.

Widower: You know that by the end of the film, he'll be married and the girls will have a Mommy again.

Three girls: You won't remember their names, because they aren't so much individuals as they are symbols for the Important Life Lessons Dan Must Learn.

Yeah, it's one of THOSE movies.

But before you wrap your lips around the business end of Mr. Twelve-Gauge, there is one saving grace in this film, and that's Juliette Binoche. She plays Marie, a woman Dan meets in a bookstore while he and his girls are at a weekend family reunion in Rhode Island. It's love at first sight, but there's one hitch: She's the new girlfriend of Dan's brother.

Oh fuss and bother! However shall Daniel reconcile this situation in a Nice Way?

Don't worry. He will. But you already know that he gets the girl, and that his brother will be angry — but not too angry and for not too long. Because these are nice people in a nice movie.

"Dan in Real Life" is just another achingly familiar, cookie-cutter movie filled with non-threatening, one-dimensional characters and treacly homilies. It's the Forrest Gump of romantic comedies.

GRADE: C-

(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.

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