Dan in Real Life

In a role that emotionally resembles his somber turn in Little Miss Sunshine, Steve Carell plays melancholy widower Dan, father to three girls and the author of an advice column. During a family retreat, he falls for a beautiful woman in a bookstore (Juliette Binoche) who he later finds out is the new girlfriend of his brother (Dane Cook). Carell struggles to rise above the mediocre material, offering the same old string of family-getaway and romantic-comedy clichés. It’s a shame, because the dynamic between Carell and the actresses playing his daughters is fun. The movie could’ve been a fine depiction of a family losing its mother, but instead, it goes all silly. The film tries to be too much. A decent movie about a dad trying to adjust after the loss of his wife could’ve been interesting. Instead, we get Cook singing “Let My Love Open the Door,” and that is a completely unnecessary ruination of a Pete Townshend song.

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