Dan in Real Life (DVD)

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 December, 2008, 12:00am

Steve Carell plays the male lead in this romantic comedy. Dan (Carell), a father of two girls, falls for Marie (the always charming Juliette Binoche), his brother's girlfriend, during a holiday stay at his family mansion.

Although he is credible as a writer racked by unattainable love, Carell's attempts at wooing Marie sometimes seem awkward.

One of the most jarring scenes sees Dan shimmy onto a dance floor and win Marie over with his moves.

Audiences will likely find this unconvincing, as his stiff steps are a turn-off.

Binoche's performance, meanwhile - her perfect American accent and radiant smiles - often eclipses that of her co-star.

But the movie's many unlikely scenarios undermine the otherwise sweet story. These include family Scrabble competitions between males and females and a talent show where family members take turns to stage their acts.

There's also an almost absurd scene, involving a job interview conducted at Dan's house, to which the interviewer brings her dad.

Despite all the dubious situations, the chemistry between the two romantic leads feels genuine, and you can't help but root for the lovebirds as they bicker their way to the altar.