Mediocre Steve Carrell movie

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that we watched the Steve Carrell movie “Dan in Real Life.” A.O. Scott gave it a pretty good review but I sensed that it would be so-so at best. It had its moments, Carrell wasn’t bad, I found his single-dad relationship with his three daughters to be kinda charming, but so much in it rang false or made no sense. The premise of the movie is that Carrell is with his extended family at their ancestral Rhode Island summer house when he meets cute with Juliette Binoche (is she actually supposed to be French in this movie? or does she just have the most unconvincing American accent ever?) at a bookstore. She tells him she’s involved with someone, but he has hopes. A couple hours later she shows up for inspection by the clan — she is now revealed as the new girlfriend of Carrell’s loutish brother played by that irritating comedian Dane Cook. Would-be screwball-ish antics ensue (Binoche has to get into the shower naked where Carrell is hiding! Family jazzercise session!), but it’s acted as if Carrell and Binoche actually had some kind of pre-existing relationship (rather than having talked for an hour). There are some really creepy, bad, or off moments — for me the worst was the scene where Carrell is supposed to be meeting a childhood acquaintance whose nickname was “Pigface” (or something) for a blind date. The jerk brothers lead an ostensibly wacky improvisation on piano about this “Pigface” girl. Then she shows up and she’s actually Emily Blunt and really hot (albeit awful). So this makes it OK that these adults were all, in front of young children, reveling in their mockery of a child’s physical appearance. Totally Lord of the Flies, and yet the movie seems to think it’s cute and funny.

I liked the Sondre Lerche cover of Elvis Costello’s “Human Hands,” a little-known (I think — anyway I’ve never heard it covered or anything) great track from Imperial Bedroom.

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