Dan in Real Life

[Amazon Link] [3.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

Yes, I watched two movies in a row that toss together a hodgepodge of family members for comic result. Good catch!

Steve Carell plays the titular Dan, a widower with three daughters and an advice column in the local paper. He's obviously doing a heroic job raising the young ladies on his own, but the older two are chafing against Dad's, um, concern about their relationships with boys.

Being a father, it was more than easy to sympathize.

To make things worse, or for comedic purposes, better: they're all off to Rhode Island for the yearly family reunion, where the clan is headed up by everyone's dad, John Mahoney, and Dianne Wiest. Sent off by his mother to allow for a cooloff, Dan meets Marie (Juliette Binoche) in a bookstore; they hit it off immediately. The complication: Marie turns out to be the current girlfriend of Dan's brother, Mitch (Dane Cook).

This is professional comedy! Once you know the setup, it's pretty easy to predict the story arc, so you better have some fun along the way. This is very competently done, and Steve Carell demonstrates again that he can play other roles besides "likeable idiot" as in The Office and, later this summer, the Get Smart movie.

Last Modified 2012-10-12 8:26 AM EST