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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Romance > Dan In Real Life (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Dan In Real Life (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B+/C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: C     Film: C



A safe family film with some edge to it at times, Peter Hedges’ Dan In Real Life (2007) is a sometimes compelling, but unfortunately predictable story of a widower (Steve Carell) with three daughters who is at a crossroads in his life.  When he goes to visit his extended family for a get-together, he stops at a bookstore where he meets a beautiful woman (Juliette Binoche) who lands up talking with him for a few hours.  The meet cute comes to an end and that seems it.


When he gets back home, he discovers that she is the fiancée of his brother (Dane Cook, sadly underused here) and he has to spend the weekend denying how much he likes her.  Is it vice versa?  Is it going to lead to a fight?  What will happen?


Of course, this is not a murder thriller, so expect the soft touch.  I did like the actors, including John Mahoney, Emily Blunt and Diane Wiest, but they are only given so much to do and sadly, the screenplay (by Hedges and Pierce Gardner) is loaded with missed opportunities because it thinks a “warm, fuzzy feeling” with a side of comedy will pull this through, but it never works out that way.  It is worth a look for the actors, but replayability is very narrow at best.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is not bad on the Blu-ray despite enough little flaws throughout to stop the picture from being cleaner.  It is shot with some softness because of the nature of the narrative, but Director of Photography Lawrence Sher keeps it interesting enough by making the actors look good.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD is weak by comparison with poor Video Black and detail limits to match.  The PCM 48/24 5.1 sound mix is nice and clean, but this is a quite, dialogue based comedy/drama, so don’t expect too much form the sound, but it is well recorded enough, which you can tell by from the subtle points picked up.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on both formats are weaker and never impress much.


Extras include “real-life” outtakes, Handmade Music: Creating The Score, Just Like Family making of featurette and commentary by Director Hedges on deleted scenes and a full-length audio commentary track.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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