Real Life Reviews
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.