Reaction's to Steve Carell's genial comedy Dan in Real Life range from appreciative to underwhelmed. AO Scott of the New York Times calls the film—starring Carell as a recent widower and advice columnist—"for the most part, winningly gentle and observant." Roger Ebert calls it "soothingly pleasant." Others find it too soothing. "Sorry, folks: Nothing to see here," writes Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post.
Ebert loves Carell's comic understatement, calling him "an everyman like a very (very) low-key Jack Lemmon." And all the critics fall for Juliet Binoche—the love interest who happens to be Dan's brother's girlfriend—whom Rolling Stone calls "bracingly lovely."
No one really hates the film, but some think that's the problem. "It's tough to actively dislike something this bland and inconsequential," writes James Berardinelli of ReelViews.