If real life was anything like Dan in Real Life, I would move to the land of make-believe. This film never seems to find its footing, continuously fluctuating from misguided romantic comedy to holiday-style family drama. Lead actors Steve Carell and Dane Cooks comedic skills are wasted as they struggle to straddle the fence between comedy and drama, in the end achieving neither.
The contrived love triangle that is at the heart of this film is difficult to watch, not only due to the string of awkward situations the characters are placed in but because the three actors involved have little on-screen chemistry. Carell does his best to try to convince the audience that his emotions are genuine but theres never a sense that Binoche returns his affections, other than the stilted dialogue, which clues us in to their predicament.
Dan in Real Life works hard to distinguish itself from other "home for the holiday movies, both the comedic and dramatic, but it does so by taking the worst parts from each genre. Do yourself a favour and instead of seeing this stay home and spend time with your own family. (Buena Vista)