Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dan in Real Life, a chick flick for guys
Tom Smith

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.

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Comments

which really didn't need it; you can make a submarine movie without the F-word

You've obviously never been in the Navy.

Posted by: pjbbuzz | Dec 5, 2007 5:29:04 AM

"You've obviously never been in the Navy."

You've obviously never seen a submarine movie made before 1970.

Posted by: pst314 | Dec 5, 2007 5:39:50 AM

(which really didn't need it; you can make a submarine movie without the F-word).

You could, but the dialog would not be realistic at all.

Now for a submarine movie that won't teach your 4 year old four-letter words watch DAS BOOT with the engish subtitles, which is better than the dubbed version. The movie is so intense you will forget that you are reading subtitles.

MT1(ss)MayorOmalleySuxs, [back in the day]

Posted by: MayorOmalleySuxs | Dec 5, 2007 5:43:35 AM

I have not yet seen a Steve Carrel movie that I didn't think was above average. The 40 Year Old Virgin is hilarious, Evan Almighty is great, and Dan in Real Life looks really good. Also, The Office is a funny show.

Steve Carrel deals with some mature topics sometimes, but his movies have all so far had some good values underlying the main character. The main character is a flawed human like all of us, who has a good heart. He is probably a fun guy to hang out with

Posted by: QuickRob | Dec 5, 2007 6:01:45 AM

(which really didn't need it; you can make a submarine movie without the F-word).

Spot on. See Herman Wouk's introductory remarks to The Caine Mutiny, wherein he states that he deliberately avoided the "realism" of obscene or profane dialog; not that it doesn't occur on-board ship, but that it serves more as "verbal punctuation" than anything else. Since it didn't add to the story, and could even distract from it, Wouk chose to leave it out. (I recall him saying that it would be included where needed for the plot; but frankly, I don't recall reading anything R-rated in the book.)

Posted by: Ameryx | Dec 5, 2007 6:11:09 AM

Don't ever let your kid see Deadwood.

Posted by: 8 | Dec 5, 2007 6:54:09 AM

Of course, Wouk wrote "The Caine Mutiny" back when it would have been unusual to see such language in a serious novel. Back then the quality and strength of the writing was supposed to carry the work. And readers were assumed to be able to understand literary effect.

By the way, fans of the novel or the quite decent movie with Humphrey Bogart may want to look up the Mad magazine parody, intrdouced as "the walking stick rebellion, or 'The Cane Mutiny.'"

Posted by: Alex Bensky | Dec 5, 2007 7:38:22 AM

Premonition was not great, however the extras on the DVD make it worth the rental. I don't want to spoil anything, but it was almost like the movie was a setup for the rest of the DVD.

Posted by: Bubba | Dec 5, 2007 7:46:35 AM

I really wish I'd seen your capsule review of Premonition before wasting an evening watching a rented DVD. Ack!

Posted by: Bill Roper | Dec 5, 2007 8:02:02 AM

The Big Lebowski is one of my favorite movies of the past decade. You DEFINITELY don't want your kids to see this version...a mite tedious, but at least wait for the first minute to catch Sam Elliot....

http://youtube.com/watch?v=gU2ZgaQ_H-Y

Posted by: Jim | Dec 5, 2007 9:00:11 AM

The Big Lebowski is one of my favorite movies of the past decade. You DEFINITELY don't want your kids to see this version...a mite tedious, but at least wait for the first minute to catch Sam Elliot....

http://youtube.com/watch?v=gU2ZgaQ_H-Y

Posted by: Jim | Dec 5, 2007 9:02:04 AM

I saw the promos for Premonition... I immediately knew it would be hideous and I have, therefore, not wasted my time watching it. I guess I lose my "chick cred" for this. *sigh* what a shame.

I haven't gotten around to Dan In Real Life, but I may have to actually watch it now. Thanks for the recommendation.

Posted by: Teresa | Dec 5, 2007 9:09:04 AM

As for "Premonition", it's a crappy American remake of a Japanese horror film called "Shinbun" (literally "newspaper")translated as "Premonition." The main character is a guy who is cursed to keep seeing newspaper articles by chance, and watching their stories play out gruesomely.

It's unfortunate that it was made into such a chick-flick over here.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 5, 2007 9:15:22 AM

I saw Dan in Real Life. It's a chick flick; I was mildly entertained but mostly bored.

>>> But as I had my 11 year old with me, American Gangster and No Country for Old Men seemed to be pushing it

Pushing it? I won't let my 11 year old watch Seinfeld reruns let alone even consider allowing him to see adult fare such as that. I dunno, I think we seem to have forgotten as a culture that adult situations are for *adults*.

Posted by: John | Dec 5, 2007 9:50:01 AM

What a waste of celluloid. This was one of the worst movies I've seen in a while. We're supposed to believe that some mystical, deep connection is established bewteen Carrel and Binoche over a cup of coffee in a bookstore, on the basis of a few fuzzy shots and some silly music? The whole movie is premised on this connection and it's glossed over quickly.

Doesn't Hollywood pay writers any longer?

Posted by: Dr. Kranky | Dec 5, 2007 10:07:43 AM

"A chick flick from the guy's point of view" is how I described "High Fidelity" with John Cusack. The story is classic chick flick, but Cusack and Black and the other record store workers are the main focus, and such absolute guys.

Posted by: Martin L. Shoemaker | Dec 5, 2007 11:50:36 AM

People concerned about realism should join the Navy and volunteer for submarine duty.

If submarine movies were realistic, you'd sit in the theater and watch the crew troll about the ocean for two hours, and nothing exciting would happen. Even if you insist on showing a battle, you'd have 110 minutes of trolling around the ocean looking for enemy ships or taking up positions, a 3-minute shootout, then 7 minutes of post-contact actions and general denouement.

Also, forget having a soundtrack, etc.

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Posted by: ghdferalisser | Aug 18, 2011 9:49:10 PM

"A chick flick from the guy's point of view" is how I described "High Fidelity" with John Cusack. The story is classic chick flick, but Cusack and Black and the other record store workers are the main focus, and such absolute guys.

Posted by: nike free Schoenen Nederland | Aug 19, 2011 12:46:41 AM

I really wish I'd seen your capsule review of Premonition before wasting an evening watching a rented DVD. Ack!

Posted by: nike shox | Aug 19, 2011 12:47:52 AM

I saw Dan in Real Life. It's a chick flick; I was mildly entertained but mostly bored.

>>> But as I had my 11 year old with me, American Gangster and No Country for Old Men seemed to be pushing it

Pushing it? I won't let my 11 year old watch Seinfeld reruns let alone even consider allowing him to see adult fare such as that. I dunno, I think we seem to have forgotten as a culture that adult situations are for *adults*.

Posted by: nike free outlet | Aug 19, 2011 12:48:49 AM

Premonition was not great, however the extras on the DVD make it worth the rental. I don't want to spoil anything, but it was almost like the movie was a setup for the rest of the DVD.

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