arts, movies, music, pop culture

two movie reviews

Dan in Real Life

A friend highly recommended this movie to me and i promptly forgot why. I’m sure it was partly because I love Steve Carrell, but also it probably had something to do with the rule I have about never dating someone a friend has dated. I don’t have a sister, but if I did, the rule would still apply.

For those who havent seen the movie, I will go ahead and save you the 2 hours. Steve is a widower with 3 mostly stereotypical daughters – the oldest, wisest one, the snotty middle lovelorn one, and the youngest and most observant one. hey, someone’s sleeping in my bed. (sorry tangent) So you get to watch them all lead their lives and see how he takes care of all their obvious needs – food, rides, sense of security – but obviously is missing out on their emotional needs, because hey, they’re chicks.

Then comes the lovely family with the witty and doting father and the witty and doting mother, with the annual tradition of descending on a gorgeous lake house and eating three squares together and putting on talent shows. The only thing missing really is the axe murderer escaped from the local prison who really only ever wanted to be loved and understood.

Oh so then there is the other single brother (Dane Cook who didn’t annoy me nearly as often as he usually does) who brings home (drumroll) the PERFECT WOMAN. she’s beautiful (I mean she *does* look like Juliette Binoche and all) and smart and funny and fun and in great shape (aerobic instructor? oh right, i’ve been meaning to get around to doing that… maybe this is why I’m still single.) Oh and she has a strange accent that almost sounds french but it might be Mormon.

Yes I know “Mormon” isn’t an accent. But I’m just saying it’s hard to place and I wondered if the director said, hey dont sound so french.

Anyways, so yea, the perfect girlfriend meets steve in a bookstore and they have a long conversation and have this incredible connection and then, oh nos! she is his brother’s girlfriend here to meet the fam.

I had two problems with the movie from here out – I felt like Steve Carrell held back. I’m not sure why, but I kinda felt like he really need to be more outrageous. The situation, if in actual real life, would be fraught with peril and awkwardness. But we’re watching a MOVIE and we want to LAUGH. We want someone to get stupid and do outlandish things. The shower scene? Lame. The running around to area landmarks with the kids to pass the time? Not funny. In fact, after thinking more about it, I think I only laughed out loud once the entire time. I might have had a smirk here and there, but I’m not sure. I laughed when Steve said “This corn is like an angel.” Apparently that was ad libbed. Oh, to be fair, I liked watching the making of the movie bit more than the movie. This happens way lots.

But all that aside, the movie itself kinda annoyed me because the premise is really quite sad for a single person. I can totally relate to meeting Mr Wonderful who is currently with Ms Wonderful – though, again, I dont have a sister, so it’s not quite the same but close enough.  I can honestly say that I have only once – um ok twice – even remotely considered someone who I met who was currently dating my friend and even then it wasnt like I did not make a conscious effort to not even think about him that way. I’ve said it before in discussions on this topic – there is a sense of propriety about this. If in your head the person is off limits, then the person is OFF LIMITS. If you are thinking about that person as potential something or other, than obviously you have opened the door even just a crack to let that propriety sneak out like a cat in heat. I just dont really see how that does NOT lead to the demise of society as a general rule. You know, like single mothers and stuff. haha. (I am kidding. It’s from a recent “news” item regarding Jennifer Aniston and Bill O’Reilly. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, well it’s not that important really. But it’s front page news apparently.)

The other thing is that they had to make the brother and the hottie doctor get together (oh sorry, spoiler. yeah, sorry you cant see the movie now) because you dont want to be unhappy for him being completely robbed of the person he was in love with BY HIS BROTHER. oh but they were in looooove. uh huh. please re-read the paragraph above at this juncture. but all’s fair in love and war right. and all’s well that ends well. and all’s quiet on the western front. and all’s moving on…


First of all, and I feel this is really important, Michael Cera, you know the place Five Guys Burgers and Fries? You should eat there. Like a lot. Please tell me you aren’t bulimic cuz that would make me mad. But seriously. Eat something because I heart you so much but you dont look healthy. (oh and if you aren’t healthy and have a medical reason for being so thin, than my sincerest apologies and carry on.)

Secondly, I make it a practice to not read any reviews before seeing the movie for myself and I have never been more vindicated in this practice than now. People who overall liked the movie still nitpicked and those who overall were annoyed by the movie are not my type of people to begin with so I’m not sure why I would listen to them any way. Except that i knew exactly what was going to happen in the story, I would have been surprised by how nearly perfect it is.

Now that said, complaints first.

I’m not sure the sequence that they shot this thing in, but in the beginning of the film, Michael Cera was doing this weird thing with the way he talked. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if he really has a lisp or what. I think a few scenes into the movie he hit his stride as SP, but i was worried at first that this was going to be a loooong movie.

Also, Knives Chau looked too “old” – meaning in her 20s. I always pictured her as much more innocent looking and Ellen Wong is way too hot to do the whole thing justice. I would have cast it differently. Not that Ellen didnt do a great job with an insane character, because she did. She just didn’t look quite right. But that’s my personal opinion and I’m willing to debate someone on it.

My other complaint would be that Envy’s hair wasn’t right. I would have added mad extensions and made it like it’s own character. If you flip through the books you’ll see that her hair is always epic. (yes, I realize this is nitpicking but I take visual things seriously. I should have been some kind of designer or something.)

Ok, so other than those relatively minor things…

Haha. seriously. It made me laugh how they brought the comic into life and added all the little things you expect (the sound effects written out, epic battle scenes, sarcasm) and some things I didn’t expect (Kieran Culkin’s performance for one and changes in the storyline that werent entirely upsetting). I didn’t like how they made the drummer Lynette a very minor character, like with no lines, AND gave her Knives highlight-removing punch to Todd which made him even lamer than he was supposed to be.

Sidenote: I’m not really a stickler for “accuracy” but I do hate it when people mess with the intent of a story or a character. Like how in LOTR, Gimli is always portrayed as comic relief and how in the movie version of Coraline, Henry Selick COMPLETELY RUINED one of my favorite children’s stories ever and made me want to throw popcorn at the screen. oh wait, i DID throw popcorn at the screen.

But I digress.

Overall I give it a huge thumbs up and a triple heart you. I was really curious about how they would bash it all together because it *is* six volumes long – albeit mostly yeah, a comic book with like pictures and stuff. But there is a lot of character development and stories and they totally sidestepped huge chunks which they have to in order to fit it into two hours. But overall it held together. I’m not entirely sure that someone who has no idea about the story will appreciate it, but that’s ok. They are remaking the Titanic in 3D for those people.


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