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Dan in Real Life - Blu-ray DVD / comedy DVD / drama DVD review
DAN IN REAL LIFE Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Smith, Juliette Lewis, Sam Jaeger, Fiona Shaw
Director: Peter Hedges   Studio: Buena Vista / Touchstone
DVD release: 11 March 2008   Runtime: 98 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
DVD features:Audio tracks (PCM 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), 1080p/AVC MPEG-4, Deleted scenes w/ commentary by writer/director Peter Hedges, Real-life outtakes, Just Like the Family (making-of), Handmade music, Audio commentary w/ writer/director Peter Hedges

Dan in Real Life is a sweet gem of a movie. It's fun to see Steve Carell in a non-slapstick type role, and this film truly shows his depth as an actor. I can't believe I missed this movie when it was at the theater, but I'm glad it will get a larger audience now with the DVD release.

Dan (Steve Carell) is a widower who is raising his three girls: nine-year-old Lilly (Marlene Lawston), fourteen-year-old Cara (Brittany Robertson) and seventeen-year-old Jane (Alison Pill). The group is traveling to Rhode Island for their annual family reunion. The family is large-including mom (Dianne Wiest), dad (John Mahoney), brother Mitch (Dane Cook), and multiple other siblings, their spouses, and their families. After a frustrating trip full of Cara's whining about leaving the "love of her life," they discover that Mitch has a girlfriend coming to stay. Dan goes to town and instantly connects with Marie (Juilette Binoche), whom he meets in a bookstore. Later, he discovers that Marie is Mitch's girlfriend, and Dan spends time alternately pining for Marie and trying to improve his outlook on life. All throughout, he manages to offend and alienate his children while the other members of his family attempt to perk him up and get him to move on with his life.

Dan in Real Life is funny, poignant, and totally relatable. The family is raucous but endearing at the same time. Movie viewers will long for a close-knit group like this to gather together and spend time with. Special features include a commentary with the director, Peter Hedges, who also wrote the movie. Also included are clips and highlights about creating the score, deleted scenes, outtakes (always enjoyable), and a "making of" featurette.

Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It is sentimental enough to please women, yet humorous and wry enough to satisfy most men. I do have to say that, although this movie has some funny moments, it isn't a comedy. Steve Carell isn't in his typical role here-he's more in an Evan Almighty type character than The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But the acting is stellar across the board; it is completely believable and delightful to experience. Definitely a movie to watch and to share with others.
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reviewed by Melissa Parcel
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