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Dan Burns is the main protagonist of the 2007 comedy Dan in Real Life. He is played by Steve Carell.
Widowed now for four years, Dan Burns is lonely. An advice columnist for the New Jersey Standard, he could use some advice himself, not only in making himself happier, but on how to deal with his three daughters of whom he is overly protective. They're heading to Rhode Island for their annual visit with Dan's parents, his several siblings and their respective families at the family home. There, Dan meets a woman named Marie at a local bookstore. They spend a memorable afternoon chatting, although she is up front about not being able to take things further with him because she is in a relationship. It isn't until later that Dan learns that that relationship is with his womanizing brother Mitch, who seems to love her, and that Marie has been invited to spend the weekend with the clan. The more time Dan spends with Marie that weekend, the more he realizes that she could be the one for him. Because of his feelings, he acts a little unusually, which the rest of the family notices. But as the weekend progresses, Marie also gets to know Dan and the entire Burns family better. She learns some information which makes her realize her true feelings. If those feelings are for Dan, he isn't sure if he could ever hurt his brother by falling for the first supposed love of his life.
- This is one of those parts where Steve Carell outdid himself, since he mostly plays funny characters.