Arlen Faber (Jeff Daniels) is an author who claims to have talked to the Big Guy in the Sky, and he's written a bestselling book about the experience. At first, Faber seems a foul-mouthed, reclusive misanthrope; then he's shown to be a decent but flawed dude.
By the third act, of course, he finds redemption. Drawing him out into the real world are his chiropractor and love interest, quirky single mother Elizabeth (Gilmore Girl's Lauren Graham), and Kris (Lou Taylor Pucci), a freshly rehabbed bookstore owner.
The Answer Man could have been a sugary overdose of awful, but the performances are felt, and Daniels does a good job selling the wisecracking and wisdom of his character. First-time director/screenwriter John Hindman seems aware of how predictable his premise could be, and despite a plot hole or two, he's put together a smart script with likable characters and lively dialogue that subverts the obvious clichés.