Dan In Real Life


Steve Carell branches out cautiously from his trademark sadsack bachelor persona in this warm, big-hearted family rom-com. But he still gives a hilariously awkward performance as Dan Burns, a widowed advice columnist whipsawed by a family-reunion weekend in which he unwittingly falls in love with his brother’s new girlfriend ( Juliette Binoche). Pieces Of April director Peter Hedges milks Carell’s talent for comic embarrassment to the full (there’s a lulu of a double-date involving Emily Blunt). Yes, he overstuffs the film with Dan’s overbearing family, who compete rapaciously at everything from crosswords to talent contests, while his three daughters kick up trouble at top volume. But Binoche strikes sexy sparks with Carell and their farcical attempts to hide their attraction give this Hollywood comedy a well-tuned, European feel.

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