Dan in Real Life (2007)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Dan in Real Life</strong> (2007)

(Netflix Streaming, January 2016) There’s something almost unapologetically sweet in Dan in Real Life’s blend of large-family dynamics, romantic entanglements, good-natured characters and picturesque setting. (That house!) That doesn’t mean that the film lacks conflicts, just that they’re held at a controlled boil and are all happily resolved by the end no matter how unlikely they may seem. Steve Carell is a solid anchor for the movie as the titular Dan, a widower trying to keep three daughters under some semblance of control while finding himself attracted beyond reason to a lovely stranger who is eventually revealed as his brother’s latest girlfriend. Don’t worry: it work out. Much of the time in-between is spent witnessing a very large family gathering, with all of the associated quirks that suggests. It’s charming and undemanding, which should hit the spot for audiences. Juliette Binoche is fine as the object of Dan’s attraction, with a number of good actors in smaller roles. Dan in Real Life unspools without too much trouble, the virtues of its lead characters easily winning over viewers and justifying even the happiest of endings. There’s a bit of sentimental sap, as you’d expect, but it’s not unwelcome in its own way.

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