Real Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Real Life Reviews

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½ June 12, 2017
Smart and funny, and launched the most underrated comedy filmmaker in cinema history.
½ July 28, 2016
Obviously ahead of its time on prophetic, very clever and brooks give a great performance. It would have been the perfect satire if brooks went for the big jokes less and kept with the great premise. Its the comedy version of "network".
July 26, 2016
Cinema Verite at its most chaotic! This anthropological mockumentary is Robert Flaherty meets Woody Allen with a slightly fractured Gone With the Wind ending. This really is comic genius.
½ July 22, 2016
Another one of those truly (and tragically) hidden gems -- full of great lines that you can spout ad nauseum to your friends and family until they finally see it (and, trust me, they'll thank you for it). Without question, this is Brooks' best. And true to his genius, arguably the funniest character in the film is one you never see -- just a voice on a speaker phone. If you don't become a Brooks fan after seeing this film, you'll never be one.
½ July 12, 2016
Albert Brooks' first feature film showcased how ahead of his time he was, by making a comedy about a comedian (a warped version of Brooks himself), who sets out to make a documentary about a normal American family, with the help of a Scientific Institute...but his own involvement with the family screws up the experiment and may cause more harm than good. Quite funny, and (in some ways) way ahead of the curve on what eventually came in the form of Reality TV.
July 8, 2016
The Woody Allen of the West Coast, Albert Brooks' first film is also a brilliant one. Prescient, incisive, acidic, Real Life's values go beyond the reality TV angle, as it also takes a stab at fame, sociological myths and the very nature of Hollywood. Plus, its ending should absolutely be replicated by the Kardashians.
½ September 21, 2015
In many ways, Real Life is a film far ahead of its time. Though it lampoons PBS' An American Family (1973), one of the earliest examples of "reality" TV, it often feels very prescient in its observations of a form that wouldn't rise to prominence for another twenty years.

Here in his first film, Albert Brooks presents a mockumentary (those would also become more prevalent later) in his signature wry, witty style. Focusing on a "real-life" American family, the audience is treated to all the hilarious behind the scenes goings on that one would imagine/expect from such a project -- culminating in Brook's self-depricating filmmaker character getting too close to his subjects and the family in question realizing how much the project has ruined their lives.

Brooks makes many great observations on the reality TV genre before it even exists. There's a particularly hilarious bit concerning a type of large, futuristic-looking, 'steady-cam' worn by cameramen over their heads so that they can remain unobtrusive. Making them look and sound like Darth Vader, their design obviously has the opposite effect.

Brooks, Grodin and company also do a great job (the kids in the Yeager family aren't too good) delivering the sarcastic, dry wit that Brooks is known for, as well as exhibiting a certain authenticity in their supposedly 'in the moment' exchanges.

Albert Brooks' humor isn't for everyone and there are plenty of comedic misses to go with the hits here, but there's also no doubt that this film has improved with age. Just taking a look at TLC's lineup (and the subsequent headlines that its reality stars are making) provides some perspective on Real Life and how Brooks' observations have evolved over time. Like the plot of this film, it ultimately isn't pretty.
August 13, 2015
20 years too early, and still very strange in its way. I can see this being perhaps a little bit of an influence on The Truman Show. I thought the ending was hilarious (the Gone With the Wind stuff).
May 7, 2015
A way before its time story about "reality" entertainment. Brooks at his best. Great job, as always, by Charles Grodin. A really fun film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 12, 2014
The film's merits extend way beyond it's (probably accidental) prophetic vision of what reality television is today as it's also one of the most cynical and vicious comedies ever made. Brooks' performance is perhaps the best and most unflattering in the history of people playing themselves in a film.
November 2, 2013
Yet more evidence proving Albert Brooks must have been (is?) a time traveller.
½ March 30, 2013
The one that pretty much started it all for Brooks.
½ January 5, 2013
This is the second film I saw this week that was way ahead of its time. "World on a Wire" tackled computers and virtual reality. This time around, it's reality TV. Writer-director Albert Brooks plays a fictional version of himself as he takes it upon himself to film an "ordinary" family in the course of one year to make a movie out of it. Things don't go quite as planned and the results are hilarious. I'm sure this must have been funny and absurd at the time but currently, it is funny in whole other level. Great performances by the cast.
½ November 18, 2012
Strangely prophetic, considering it was made in the late 70s. Predicted the reality TV craze by about 20 years.
November 10, 2012
perfect ending to a perfect film that predicated the future of not only television, but all media and its technology.
June 30, 2012
Prescient and hilarious. Why don't more people talk about this film?
½ June 23, 2012
Genius. 20years or so ahead of it's time and probably more relevant now than it was back then. There's many a reason Kubrick admired Brooks, and it's on full display here.
June 12, 2012
Very, very funny, and as everyone points out, very prescient.
½ April 30, 2012
An early mockumentary on what would become reality TV, co-written by SPINAL TAP and Simpsons genius Harry Shearer. Not great, but funny and insightful enough to warrant attention. Brooks is fun as a shallow, deluded Hollywood filmmaker trying to make an average American family into
March 21, 2012
Albert Brooks really takes apart documentary filmmaking (or more specifically, the terrible reality programming that was to come). Very witty.
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