Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00
Local opening date: 10/26/2007
Reviewed by Martha K. Baker
The plot summaries for Dan in Real Life describe a widower who falls for a woman at a bookstore and then he discovers that she's his brother's new girlfriend. It sounds so sitcommy. But this plot is co-written by Peter Hedges, who also directed. Hedges also directed and wrote the screenplay for Pieces of April, that luminous movie about Thanksgiving, and the screenplays for About a Boy and What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Here's someone who knows families and presents them in promisingly unmediocre methods. We can trust him.
Dan Burns is a widower and father of three daughters. He's properly protective as befits a single parent and the columnist of advice to the lovelorn. He gathers up his girls to go to Cape Cod for a big family weekend. When Dan goes to the Book and Tackle bookstore for a newspaper, he meets Marie. He flirts, something he hasn't done in a long time and is a little rusty at but is still fluid enough to enchant her. That is, until they meet again as his brother introduces the same woman to the whole family as his new girlfriend.

You know that Dan and Marie are going to end up together, but you sure enjoy watching the journey to togetherness. Good acting, good writing, and good directing satisfy every need to see these two happy.

The cast is outstanding, beginning with that darling Steve Carell, who made a name for himself on The Daily Show and has gone on to star in The Office, an exercise in irony. But in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Dan in Real Life, Carell proves his range as a comic actor. He's just perfect as Dan, a little bit doofus and a lot adorable and gentlemanly. Juliette Binoche as Marie shows a comic self unevidenced in movies like Breaking and Entering.

The Burns parents are played by veterans John Mahoney (the father on Frasier) and Dianne Wiest, and Dan's brothers are played by the sinuous Dane Cook and the Hobbit-like Norbert Leo Butz. The actors playing Dan Burns' daughters are a treat: Alison Pill, Brittany Robertson and Marlene Lawston. And Emily Blunt, so muted in The Jane Austen Book Club, is a good diversion.

Peter Hedges' direction makes sure that the large family tumbles around like puppies and captures Dan and Marie's dilemma as both farce and real. Dan in Real Life is packed with loving detail - note the sandwich-making - as well as with good insight. At one point, one of Dan's daughters declare that he is a good father but a bad dad, a distinction that Peter Hedges shows as well as tells so well in Dan in Real Life.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

Graham Pagano

Mon June 23
Graham Pagano's debut album Quit Complaining is a high charged mix of old and new music. his old blues and classic country feel blended up with a rock and roll attitude makes this stripped down album explode…

KDHX Recommends

July
Saturday
26

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014 Harvest Sessions welcomes Genevieve -- featuring Rebecca Ryan and Leslie Sanazaro -- to the West Pool Pavilion for a morning of acoustic music. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers'...


July
Sunday
27

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars for a family matinee Sunday, July 27 at Noon. Kids under two are free. $8 advance tickets on sale now. Tickets available at the door for $10. Kids under two are free. For...


July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

7 users and 11468 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook