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Review: 'The Answer Man'

A inspirational author, who turns out to be a fraud, finds a form of redemption with the help of his chiropractor.

By Peter Rainer / July 24, 2009

Lauren Graham (l.) and Jeff Daniels are shown in a scene from "The Answer Man."

Magnolia Pictures/AP

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A promising premise and some very good actors are smothered in goo in "The Answer Man." Jeff Daniels plays Arlen Faber, the writer of an inspirational bestseller 20 years ago about his intimate talks with God. Pathologically reclusive ever since, Arlen is lured out of his Philadelphia town house by a down-to-earth chiropractor (Lauren Graham) and a troubled local bookseller (Lou Taylor Pucci). The twist here is that, although Arlen's God talk resonates with millions of readers, he's a crank and a fraud – that is, until love enters his life. Instead of, for example, exploring how someone of no faith could inspire the faithful, first-time writer-director John Hindman goes the "Christmas Carol" route, turning Arlen into Scrooge redeemed. Grade: C+ (Rated R for language.)

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