Universal has purchased the rights to the comedic novel "Lunatics" by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel as a starring vehicle for Steve Carell, with Carell also producing through his Carousel Productions.

The novel, which doesn't hit stores until January 10th, tells the story of two men: Philip Horkman, a happy-go-lucky New Jersey pet store owner who serves as a referee for kids' soccer games on the weekends; and Jeffrey Peckerman, a cynical soccer dad whose minor feud with Horkman escalates to the point where the two are eventually pursued by law enforcement, terrorists, soldiers and some guy dressed up as "Chuck E. Cheese". Carell would play the Horkman role.

Deadline broke the story.

The project sounds like a zany farce in the vein of "Date Night", Carell's 2010 hit co-starring Tina Fey, in that it throws two ordinary individuals into a series of increasingly improbable situations. It seems likely the studio will be looking for another A-list comedian to fill the role of Peckerman. Any ideas who might be a good fit?

Carell most recently signed on for a starring role in a new Warner Bros. project entitled "Conviction", based off a dramatic Jonathan Herman screenplay that will be rewritten as an action-comedy to suit the actor's talents.