Dan in Real Life , a 2007 comedy starring funnyman Steve Carrell, is entertaining in its depiction of life as a widower. Dan Burns (Carrell) is the sole caretaker of three beautiful young girls, and the story begins by showcasing the conflicts caused when a mother-figure is absent in family life. The daughters think dad is too strict (he doesn't allow the eldest to drive, the middle one to date, etc). Ironically, Dan is a writer for the local newspaper, and his column has gained an avid following based on its tremendous advice with regards to being a parent.
Long story short, Dan and the girls go on a retreat with the rest of their extended family. On the way there, they stop at a bookstore, where Dan meets a woman who he is instantly attracted to. However, a few days later, she shows up at the family cottage as his brother's "special guest". A whole string of hilarity and awkward sexual tension ensues, which provides for a solid hour-and-a-half of entertainment. Ultimately, Dan in Real Life is short and sweet; a light, easy-going comedy that will satisfy without making you think too much after the credits roll. Steve Carell shows that he isn't a one-dimensional actor, but this movie won't be winning any Oscars.
Go in with tempered expectations, and come out impressed.
*** (out of a possible 5 stars)