Gordon Lish, Raymond Carver's editor, ruthlessly cut down the late short-story writer's prose, helping him perfect his trademark spare style. Dan Rush's adaptation of Carver's "Why Don't You Dance?" suggests that Lish had the right idea, since it fills in all the empty spaces with half-baked Screenwriting 101 clichés. In the story, a guy puts all his furniture outside and sells some of it to a young couple. That's pretty much it. Here we have Nick (Will Ferrell), an alcoholic salesman who's lost his job and returns home to find that the wife has locked him out of the house and tossed all his things on the lawn. So far so good, but then we must add the requisite romantic interests — the winsome next-door neighbor (Rebecca Hall), the lost high-school crush (Laura Dern). And the lonely boy (Christopher Jordan Wallace) with whom Nick can bond. And how about a happy ending? As a showcase of Ferrell's acting potential, this impresses; otherwise, everything must go.