Real Life

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"An American comedy."
  • PG
  • 1979
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 7.0  (3,700)
  • 64

Real Life is a 1979 satirical comedy film that spoofs the popular 1970s documentary television show, An American Family. Directed by Albert Brooks, who also stars in the film, the movie follows a filmmaker who seeks out a suburban family to document their lives for a year as part of his new reality show, "The American Family." The movie begins with a cynical Brooks pitching his new reality show to a group of network executives, who are all enthusiastic about the idea. Brooks' character, who is called Albert Brooks in the movie, sets out to find a "typical American family" to follow for a year. After the show's executives veto his initial choices for being too "boring," Brooks discovers the Yeagers, a seemingly normal family from Arizona.

Brooks, along with his film crew, including his hapless assistant Mark (played by Matthew Tobin), moves into the Yeagers' house and begins filming their every move. The family is headed by Warren Yeager (played by Dick Haynes), a dentist who is initially excited about being on television. However, as the year progresses and the strain of constant filming takes its toll, the Yeagers begin to unravel.

The film takes a satirical look at the concept of reality television before it became the dominant force in American television. The Yeagers, who are portrayed as a stereotypical American family, are subjected to constant observation by Brooks and his film crew. The family's problems, including Warren's growing dissatisfaction with his life and his marriage, are exacerbated by the presence of the cameras.

The humor in the film comes from the contrast between the Yeagers' mundane lives and the high-tech equipment used by Brooks and his crew. The crew's incompetence is also a source of comedy, as they struggle to keep up with the demands of filming the Yeagers' every move.

As the year progresses, tensions rise between the Yeagers and the filmmakers. The family begins to feel like they are being exploited, and their resentment towards Brooks and his crew grows. Meanwhile, Brooks becomes increasingly frustrated with the lack of interesting footage and the Yeagers' growing resistance to his direction.

Real Life's conclusion is both hilarious and thought-provoking. Without giving anything away, the film's ending is a clever commentary on the nature of reality television and the impact it has on the people who are subjects of the cameras.

Overall, Real Life is a well-crafted satire of the entertainment industry, as well as a prescient warning against the dangers of reality television. With its deadpan humor and sharp social commentary, the film remains as relevant today as it was in 1979, even as the genre it lampooned has evolved into an omnipresent part of American culture.

Real Life is a 1979 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 64.

Real Life
Where to Watch Real Life
Real Life is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Real Life for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (3,700)
  • Metascore