Time: 98 mins.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
SYNOPSIS: A widower with three daughters unwittingly falls in love with his younger brother's new girlfriend with painfully funny results.
BOTTOM LINE: Steve Carell tries again to cement his leading man status with decidedly mixed results. While he's believable as an overwhelmed father, his manic energy is just too out of place when compared to the other actors, especially the serene intelligence of Binoche. He's clearly attempting to be normal, but the script and his innate silliness hamper him at every turn. He truly sparks with Binoche in the scene where they meet for the first time, however, since this is supposed to be a comedy, the story then proceeds to embarrass him as much as possible on the way to true love. The situation is awkward and poignant enough without forcing him to be a fool on top of it.
As lovely as Binoche is, she's not exactly known for her comic sensibility and her awkwardness only adds to the film's disjointedness. Wiest and Mahoney are sweet and smart as the heads of this wacky brood and deliver some of the film's best lines. Cook does what's required of him, which is to be a simple, sweet goofy dude. He's never a true rival for Binoche's long-term affections, which causes all the anxiety about hurting his feelings to fall flat. The teen love story was also more annoying than inspiring, since all Dan is trying to do is protect his daughter and a 14-year-olds judgment should not be compared to a mature adults, true love or not. While this is a better film than many of his other features, Carell and company have a long way to go to make him a real movie star.