Tuesday, December 4, 2007
As long as I am reviewing movies, let me recommend Dan in Real Life. Normally when I see "romantic comedy," my chick flick warning light goes off, and I won't go near it. But as I had my 11 year old with me, American Gangster and No Country for Old Men seemed to be pushing it, especially since my 4 year old has taken to saying the F-word again, having heard it deployed with gusto during Crimson Tide (which really didn't need it; you can make a submarine movie without the F-word).
You can read the review of the Dan movie above to get the sit-commish plot, but don't be put off by that. What I can say about the movie as that at its heart there is none of that girl's eye view of the world that makes the average chick flick just too much to watch. I mean movies like Premonition, in which (spoiler coming, but you don't want to see it anyway) the wife foresees that her husband is going to die, which he is going to do because he is going to cheat on her, but he doesn't because he loves her too much after all, but he is killed anyway, fate being what it is, but fortunately he has just bought a fat new life insurance policy so the wife gets to buy a big new house. The end. I wonder who thought that one up. Why not just kill the husband at the beginning and end the movie early so we don't have to watch it? My lovely wife Jeanne agreed that it was much better for the husband to die horribly, crushed by a big truck, than it would have been for him to live and cheat on his wife, better for all concerned, really.
By contrast Dan in Real Life is filled with little moments that convince me the writers have been to the Planet of the Dads, where few good deeds go unpunished and feelings are something other people get to have. But in this fantasy, the guy both meets the woman of his dreams, more or less, and his parents have a giant, shabby, kick-ass house on the Rhode Island shore. It's not realistic; it's the movies, but at least no guy has to die to make the ladies feel good. The movie is worth seeing just for the great scenes of unpretentious New England shoreline. I would tell you more, but I don't want to ruin the mild suspense of the plot.
Yes, it is sweet and cute, but not disgustingly so. My notoriously hard to impress 11 year old thought it was funny. I asked William, "did you like it?" "Yeah," he said. Trust me, this is a very positive review.