Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
Juliette Binoche … Dr. Ouelet
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|Director:||Peter Hedges—“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “About a Boy,” “Pieces of April”|
|Producer:||Darlene Caamano, Dianne Dreyer, Brad Epstein, Noah Rosen, Jonathan Shestack|
“Something’s happening to Dan. It’s confusing. It’s awkward. It’s family.”
Without anyone telling the audience that Dan Burns is lonely, it is easy to see. Dan (Steve Carell) is in an empty bed. He wakes up and begins his day—making breakfast, making lunches, washing clothes, working from home. He has been a widow for 4 years, and his life revolves around his 3 daughters and his job as a parenting advice columnist.
However, Dan seems to have trouble with his own family. His oldest daughter Jane is upset with him because he won’t let her drive; Cara is in love, and dad just doesn’t understand her or her life; and Lilly, the youngest daughter, needs a mom around.
When Dan and his daughters go to visit his parents for the annual fall family get together, he meets a woman who takes his breath away. He opens up to Marie (Juliette Binoche … Dr. Ouelet
) and tells her everything about himself. He tells his family that he has met a woman, and everyone is excited for him, and then Dan discovers Marie is dating his younger brother Mitch (Dane Cook). Dan and Marie keep their meeting a secret from the whole family, and for the rest of the movie, Dan acts crazy because he is torn between his attraction to this woman and his love for his brother.
LANGUAGE: The language was extremely mild for a PG-13 movie. One d-mn, misusing God’s name twice and some songs played have mild language. There is a reference to self love and uncorking the bottle when talking about Dan’s pent up sexual urges. Cara, who is 14, says that her boyfriend has said he wants to wait to have sex.
OTHER OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT: Dan’s daughters are disrespectful toward him. He takes care of them, but we never see them helping out. They are selfish and rude most of the time. Cara, who is often times overemotional, calls her father a loser.
Cara has sweatpants on with the words “You Wish” across the buttocks. After exercising, Marie and Mitch do stretching exercises in a provocative manner. While playing football, Dan tackles Marie, and they stay there a little too long. Dan is standing in the shower with clothes on when Marie is undressing, and you see a brief flash of the side of her breast. Marie gets in the shower with fully clothed Dan. In several scenes, Marie has a low cut top on. Several times women’s cleavage is exposed. There is also a scene with provocative dancing.
Dan gets 2 tickets for running stop signs and hits a police car. Dan also gets punched by Mitch.
This is a family that laughs, fights, plays and forgives. They have fun together and share many happy moments. They share a special bond, and it is because of this that Mitch can forgive his brother. This movie also shows that actions have consequences. When Dan misbehaves at dinner, his mother makes him wash dishes alone. After 2 speeding tickets and hitting a police car, Dan has to forfeit his license. He grounds his daughter for disobeying.
Dan clearly wants what his brother has. He is lusting after a woman that is already taken. However, that is what makes this movie so believable. I rarely read what critics have to say before I see a movie, but I did read that this was not a believable storyline. I beg to differ. When you come from a large family, there is bound to be 2 people who like the same person at some time. This movie appears very human. Dan appears very human. Sometimes he says the wrong thing; sometimes he does the wrong thing. He is just one person trying to get through life.
However, this movie is devoid of any references to God, and while we may try to give advice and seek advice from worldly sources, the best advice comes from the Bible. As I watched this movie, I kept thinking about all the times I get “crazy” because of something I want, or anxious because I don’t know how things will turn out. However, God does. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
While I enjoyed watching this movie and was entertained, I feel the mark of a truly good movie is if it made me think afterwards. I continue to ponder even now as I write. Would things have happened differently if Dan and Marie hadn’t kept their meeting a secret? What advice would I give to someone in a similar situation?
I would recommend this movie for teens and adults. Go and laugh at the silly parts and enjoy yourself. Afterwards, talk about the choices Dan made. Why were his actions wrong? How would you do things differently? What would God want from us in a similar situation?
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.