Dan In Real Life (DVD & Blu-Ray)

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover is funny, possibly funnier than the movie 🙂 The menu is cute and reminds one of some other recent flicks with the cut and paste look of a school project. eh hem. All in all the packaging is perfectly suited for the movie, makes you smile awwww.

Features: 7/10

  • Deleted Scenes With Commentary By Writer/Director Peter Hedges – Some good ones this time around. I would even go so far as to say a couple could have been put in the movie and it would be a good thing. Steve with peas in his nose, why delete that?
  • Real Life Outtakes – You know what outtakes are by now people.
  • Just Like Family The Making Of Dan In Real Life – The actors got to know each other before shooting the movie. We know this old trick, what happens is they either become a believable family or not…you will find out the result upon your own viewing of Dan in Real Life.
  • Handmade Music Creating The Score – Cool music, cool composer. This is the best extra on the disc for one reason, it’s interesting to see a modern composer put together a music score. Love this extra.
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Peter Hedges – Hedges is a talker and he’s pretty emotionally attached to the whole process of making his films. I wasn’t that interested in the commentary. The interviews with him in the extras was enough for me.

Movie: 7/10
A family that does aerobics, kayaking, plays football in the yard, and has a talent show, all in one movie? Give me a break people. I understand, this is a nice idea. I like the movie, ok. I do. It’s entertaining, has some funny bits, isn’t overly emotional or sentimental. All that is great, however, there is the little matter of some Hollywood schmuckity schmucks who must think they have to set a good example for the rest of us and show us a family who’s so active it’s like watching a bunch of people at an amusement park.

I can’t fault the whole movie for that one thing. It’s just one of those things that makes me sigh with a certain “ugh” attitude. Almost everything else is pretty cool, for a romantic comedy disguised as a new fangled family dramedy.

A widower has three young daughters, two teenagers and a 4th grader. They are growing up and he’s struggling to deal with it all. His family worries about him because he hasn’t had a woman in his life for four years since his wife died. Soooo, the whole family goes to a house on the lake for a while every year and this is when we might just see Dan have some life changing experience.

It’s not ground breaking. The story is what it is. Finding love after tragedy isn’t exactly a new invention, the difference is in the casting, dialogue, and the absence of glossy music moments.

As for the cast, everyone fits in very well. They do seem a bit overly familiar though, like they aren’t just acting like a family, but have been trained to be a family unit and it’s beyond believable, into the territory of Bradyness. The movie is actually quite good, but when I am more convinced that a large meteor is going to hit Earth and a group of oil drillers can save the day, than I am that this kind of family exists even in movie land…well, you get the picture.

I like Steve Carrell, and Binoche. He does his normal innocent but sensible thing while she does the worldly sexy groovy chick with an accent. I would have to say she’s my 3rd favorite thing about the movie. 1st Carrell, 2nd, Diane Wiest (the sensible weathered mother who has the warm glowing vibe), 107th Dane Cook. That’s right, Cook is the same old same old loveable scampy guy he has become in every movie so far. It’s boring and I’m ready for him to movie on..get it, movie on? OK.

There is a hilarious dancing scene, and something about corn and angels. The scenes of Carell being a good dad are touching and surprisingly the most believable parts of the whole thing. There are just so many parts that are good it’s a mystery why I look back now and the whole of the movie doesn’t thrill me much.

So, what is my main theme about this movie? It’s above average. It’s funny but not clever. It’s emotional but not to sappy. It’s got a very unbelievable family which is distracting, but the cast is excellent.

If you like romance tossed in with some gags like people getting stuck in the shower together unexpectedly, fender benders, and Steve Carrell…you’ll love it.

If you like some romance, cute kids and a nice message, you’ll like it.

If you hate sob stories, mistaken identities, secret love interests, and Frazier’s dad, you’ll hate it.

I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I liked it, enjoyed it, and had several laughs, which is a good thing.

Video & Audio: (By Ascully): 7/10
We checked the movie out on Blu-Ray disc on our new 100 inch projection system, I am finding that Blu-Ray is the way to go using a screen of this size as you get more of a film like image and less pixalization than a standard DVD. I also took a look at the standard DVD release of the movie and in comparison it looks quite soft and not as colorful.

This movie is mostly a series of scenes of dialog between characters, this means 5.1 surround does not really get a workout, the voices are crisp and clear though and the uncompressed track on the Blu-Ray sounds noticeably better than the one found on the DVD. Overall if you have the means get the Blu-ray version but if you want to see the film and are not to bothered about top notch presentation the DVD will suit you just fine.

Value: 7/10
Rent it. That’s my recommendation. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not one I would have to have on my shelf forever.

Overall Score 7/10