New comedy portrays life as real ‘Family Guy’

Ricky Simpson

Dan in Real Life

Staring Steve Carell,

Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook

Every so often there is a film that comes along that is not a blockbuster and is not really promoted but ends up being wonderful, and you can’t exactly figure out why. This film isn’t gutsy, it’s not abstract, it’s not even theatrical, but for some reason, “Dan in Real Life” is delightfully superb.

After four years, Dan Burns (Carell), a local columnist, is still getting over the death of his wife and is doing all he can to be a father to his three daughters.

While on an annual family retreat, Dan meets a woman, Marie (Binochs), who he instantly is attracted to. Dan discovers, however, that a few unforeseen circumstances will make it impossible to pursue a relationship with her.

This film catches every major human emotion and rolls them all together to create a charming depiction of family, commitment and opportunity. What is great about this film is how it really is gushy and a little goopy but in its sly little way pulls it off victoriously.

Steve Carell is basically at the top of the entertainment world and establishes credibility by taking on this dramatic roll. He is gripping as the struggling father. Very rarely is there an automatic, but Carell is a no-doubter for a Golden Globe nomination this year.

Carell is not the only leg this film has to lean on by any means. Dan’s three daughters, Jane Burns, Cara Burns and Lilly Burns, are the backbone to a powerful ensemble. Such electric performances from unseasoned actors are a credit to the director, Peter Hedges (A Piece of April), who extracts every ounce of ability from his actors.

“Dan” runs 95 minutes and is rated PG-13 for mild adult content.

Grade: B+

Playing at Cinemark Fayette Mall, Regal Hamburg Pavilion

Opening Today

Bee Movie

Staring Jerry Seinfeld,

Renée Zellweger

Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld), a bee that recently graduated from college, wants more out of life than the career in honey-making that awaits him at Honex. This DreamWorks film is sure to be a hit for the whole family to enjoy.

Playing at Cinemark Fayette Mall, Regal Hamburg Pavilion, Movies 10 Codell Drive

American Gangster

Staring Denzel Washington,

Russell Crowe

This Ridley Scott (Gladiator) picture has a lot of potential but could face competition from “Bee Movie,” which is also opening this weekend. The studio has spent its own fortune in promotions in an attempt to overcome the animated rival.

Playing at Cinemark Fayette Mall, Regal Hamburg Pavilion, Movies 10 Codell Drive

Martian Child

Staring John Cusack,

Bobby Coleman, Amanda Peet

Cusack is said to be tender and moving in this film about a man who adopts a child (Coleman) who believes he is a Martian.

Playing at Cinemark Lexington Green, Regal Hamburg Pavilion, Movies 10 Codell Drive

Upcoming DVDs


Staring Patton Oswalt

Animals acting like humans — does anybody do it better than Pixar and Disney? The fact that this film grossed over $200 million is why this film is considered the best animated film of the year.

Seinfeld Season 9

Staring Jerry Seinfeld,

Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, Juila Louis-Dreyfus

With the release of the final season to DVD, this puts a lid on one of the greatest television shows ever made.