Romantic Comedies to Love: Dan in Real Life

So after reading that fewer romantic comedies are getting made, I decided to spread the word about some of my favorites here on the blog. (First out was one of my all-time favorite movies, Intolerable Cruelty, a delicious black romantic comedy with extremely witty dialog.) Today I thought I’d write a bit about Dan in Real Life.

In this movie, Dan is a widower with three children who writes a parenting advice column (“Dan in Real Life”). He’s not looking for love, but stumbles on it anyway during a family reunion at his parent’s huge house in Rhode Island, only it turns out she’s his brother’s girlfriend, Marie. What follows is a classic, yet surprisingly sweet movie where Dan and Marie try to deny their attraction to each other, while his brother Mitch steals Dan’s best lines from a book he wrote. Meanwhile, one of Dan’s teenage daughter claims to be in love with a boy she met three days ago. This gives rise to many of the funniest moments in the movie, or how about this piece of dialog:


Daughter: You don’t have to worry because when it comes to sex, Marty is the one that wants to wait.

Dan: What part of that sentence is supposed to give me comfort?


Or this one:


Daughter: You are a murderer of love!


Although Steve Carell plays Dan, he’s much more understated here compared to many of his other movies where he plays more overtly comic roles. This movie is more borderline drama-comedy, and I think he does a great job of portraying the earnest widowed father with his heart in the right place. Marie, played by Juliette Binoche, is also tartly funny–look out for the pancake scene!

Let me finish up with some more quotes between the happy couple:


Marie: So you’re telling me you’re one of those widowers with three daughters who preys on unsuspecting women in bookstores?
Dan: It seems that way, yeah.


Marie: You. Are. Smooth.
Dan: Actually, I’m not smooth. I’m, uh, Dan.


Dan: Mitch is a great guy.
Marie: He is, he is. He’s fun and uh, funny. He’s complicated, but in a good way. Just what I need.
Dan: He’s a great guy.
Marie: See, I just got out of a relationship, and Mitch was there.
Dan: He’s a great guy.
Marie: You keep saying that.
Dan: Well, because he is. So good luck, to all of us.

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