A: Dan Burns (Steve Carell) is a family advice columnist whose relationship with his own three daughters is anything but perfect. Things get aggravated when he falls in love with the beautiful Marie (Juliette Binoche), only to discover that she is dating his brother (Dane Cook), and will be spending the weekend with them at their annual family reunion.
Q: Who’s in the movie?
A: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Diane Wiest, John Mahoney, Emily Blunt
Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?
A: Go! Sure to be a holiday classic, the moments are real and relatable for anyone who has a family.
Q: Will this movie make me laugh?
A: Yes. While the jokes are not a laugh a minute, the awkwardness you feel as the tension escalates between Dan and Marie will keep you chuckling uncomfortably in your seat. Also, a dance battle, a hilarious song about Ruthie “Pig face” Draper, and a teenage daughter in love for the first time, (brilliantly portrayed by Brittany Robertson), provide for many, well earned, big laughs.
Q: Will this movie make me cry?
A: Only if you start to think about how few comedies are being made lately about characters who seem like real people and are dealing with issues that feel like real problems. If you begin to consider how tired you are of being spoon fed jokes, and talked down to by Hollywood movie makers, and how the quality of many movies is actually making you dumber… then, yes, you might get a little teary at this film.
Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?
A: Probably not. It’s not nearly pretentious enough to collect nominations, and dangerously close to being considered a comedy—which, as we know, will knock any movie out Academy Award consideration.
Q: How is the Acting?
A: Great. Be prepared to be impressed with Steve Carell’s versatile range, Juliette Binoche’s comprehensible accent, a break out performance by both Brittany Robertson and Marlene Lawston, and to fall in love with Diane Wiest all over again.
Q: How is the Directing?
A: Peter Hedges’ work is imperceptible and therefore perfect.
Q: How is the story/script?
A: Simple and relatable. Without pandering for laughs, the script presents a plausible situation and plays it out realistically. The conclusion is a little forced and requires a slight suspension of disbelief, as many of Dan’s family members react to his behavior in ways that are overly forgiving. That said, I’ll accept this easy out because like most audience members I love a happy ending.
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