3.5 / 5
This film is billed as a comedy. I think of it more as a drama. I ended up feeling sorry for the guy rather than laughing at him most of the time, but this isn't a horrible thing. The best part of of the film is its realism. The in Real Life part of the title isn't just there to add length. This film is pulled off in such a way that makes me believe that this is a family that I actually know or can see myself knowing. This doesn't feel like a typical Hollywood attempt at being down to earth, it actually is.
I would highly recommend going into this film without reading the promo bits about it. They give away too much of the plot. The movie starts a bit slow, but as the the movie progresses you can see how it fits into place. This movie also is exciting in that comedian Steve Carell breaks out of his typical comedy routine and resists the urge to be goofy. Of course he can't leave his dancing ability at the door, but his other usual tricks are nowhere to be found.
This film is rated PG 13 for what I would call one main awkward scene where his brother give him advice. I think the general mood elevates this movie to a more mature level as well. Don't let the pancake DVD cover art scare you off.
2 / 5
This is the story of a young boy who uses his music to find his parents. I enjoyed the music or soundtrack of this film more than any other part of it. The songs were well thought out. Unfortunately the plot line was far too predictable for me. I found that after maybe 20 minutes that I had the whole thing scoped out fairly well, and I was right. The main undertone of the movie was that there is music and creativity everywhere just waiting for people in tune with life to hear and release it.
The acting in this film varied from person to person. Freddy Highmore did a fairly good job considering his age. The little choir girl tore it up. Robin Williams never ceases to amaze me with his ability to be freaky. This movie was rated PG but pushed that boundary in my opinion. The main relationship was pushing it as well as scenes involving Robin Williams. Those made me question its soft rating. The movie ends in a utopian climax of music and family.