Friday, June 27, 2008

A Bookstore in the Movies: Dan in Real Life

We rented a charming video the other day, Dan in Real Life (2007, PG-13), which featured a romantic encounter in a bookstore/tackle shop (now there’s a business idea!) between Steve Carrell and Juliette Binoche. The curmudgeonly bookstore owner is engrossed in a personal phone call when Binoche strolls in to inquire about a suitable book for her new boyfriend and he imperiously waves her away. She catches the eye of Carrell, who is a browsing customer and asks for his assistance.

He plays along as Binoche rattles off all the things she is looking for in a book, and scoops up titles from around the shelves. She winds down and then Carrell lays out his selections for her: some Emily Dickinson, some Neruda (which they both sigh over), “Anna Karenina”, a biography of Gandhi (Carrell justifies this choice “because he is the coolest guy ever”) and a children’s book, “Everyone Poops” by Taro Gomi (one of my kids’ favorites when they were little) for levity.

Here’s where the movie veers off into sheer fantasy; Binoche, without looking at one price tag, declares that all of the books picks are perfect and declares to the now-available bookstore owner that she will take them all. Hah! My own Dan in Real Life and I do a lot of book recommendations in the course of a day’s work at our used bookstore, and not once in twelve years has someone slavishly followed our suggestions. We have achieved a reputable bit of handselling success, particularly around the holidays when last minute shoppers zip in and out quickly, but scoring 5 out of 5 is unbelievable. Similarly, it is the rare customer that just racks up a pile of books on the counter without glancing at the price on the front flyleaf.

Despite this lapse into science fiction, the movie was an intelligent and interesting romantic comedy that the whole family enjoyed. The kids got hooked when they found out Dane Cook was involved and the adults enjoyed the interesting characters and side plots. And a bookstore scene always rocks.

1 comment:

jgs4512002 said...

Hi, I thought the exact same thing about her buying all the books but really enjoyed this movie.

I was actually looking up funny names for bookstores and happened to be directed to your site :)

With regards,
Jason, Cambridge,uk.