Dan in Real Life Reviews
Why must so many family-friendly romantic comedies give us such wan, forgettable dialogue and predictable situations? Dan is derivative at best, and feels like filmmaking by focus group at worst.
Dan in Real Life is an enjoyable if curious creature, a naturalistic ensemble comedy wed to a high-flown sitcom premise. It's infused with a warm optimism that prevails even through the drama's thornier patches.
The setup of this comedy by director-cowriter Peter Hedges and some subsequent twists may be contrived, and the laughs aren't very plentiful, but much of the behavior seems real, and the able cast makes the most of it.
Almost reflexively, the filmmakers skirt Dan's messier conflicts. But it is the moments when they don't dance around the awkward issue of a brother falling for his brother's girl that Dan is the most poignant.
To call this feel-good comedy conservative is to cede 'family values' to the realm of politics, which, despite a vague NPR-ishness to the characters, is something Real Life refuses to do.