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‘Dan in Real Life’: What Kind of Fantasy Is This?

Fear not: There are poop jokes.Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

The Tagline: “In life you make plans for your kids. You make plans for yourself. But the only thing you can truly plan for is to be surprised.”

Translation: Plan to not be surprised.

The Gist: In The 40-Year Old Virgin, Steve Carell played a sweetly awkward man-child on the verge of a breakdown. In Little Miss Sunshine, he played a sweetly awkward man-child shortly after a breakdown. In Dan in Real Life, he plays a sweetly awkward single father with an advice column who could well have a breakdown if he doesn’t score with his brother’s girlfriend (played by Juliette Binoche). Carell’s sweet and awkward are starting to seem more like unstable and creepy, but everyone else here has emerged from the land of traditional heartwarming clichés: Dan’s three daughters are adorable, his parents overprotective, and the rest of his family seems to enjoy sitting around kitchen tables laughing uproariously. The ties that bind are no doubt tested, but will the audience get in some laughs of their own? Carell does fall off a roof at one point. —Nick Catucci

Dan in Real Life trailer [Apple]

‘Dan in Real Life’: What Kind of Fantasy Is This?