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Dinner for Schmucks

A 2010 comedy movie directed by Jay Roach.

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Carell, Rudd, and Galifiankis team up for some of the best laughs of the Summer...

  • Sep 27, 2010

Comedy is subjective. Many different people have many different tastes. Some enjoy smart comedies with more of a touch of satire, others pride themselves on broader comedies anyone can enjoy, and yet some prefer dark comedies with a lot of edge. I have to say Dinner for Schmucks fits into the mold of a general comedy that a lot of people can enjoy, and I’m personally thankful as they could have made a really made a snarky, mean-spirited movie and instead gave us tons of laughs with a great message. The film follows Tim, a guy in the midst of a big change in the corporate structure, hoping to snag the new job opening in the “big leagues” upstairs. He soon learns though in order to get the job he needs to win the prize in the monthly “Dinner for Idiots”, where each of them brings a buffoon, moron, or someone just generally “weird” for them to make fun of. Tim finds his schmuck sooner than expected when he hits Barry Speck, a taxidermist who makes “mouse-terpieces”, placing dead mice in poses and costumes inside shoe boxes. I’ll be totally honest for the first 30 minutes of so of the film I was convinced I had made a terrible decision in what to see, as the jokes and the setups take time to warm up. It’s sorta like my brain had to click in a certain mode of “Oh, it’s this kind of movie. I love this!’ because once the build-ups get there and once we’re familiar with the characters the jokes snowball for the rest of the film, gradually getting funnier until the crowning achievement that was the dinner scene, a scene that is the comedic equivalent of a great casserole. (All pun intended) A lot of the jokes in the film are sort of your broad humor with characters hitting things, falling, or physical humor, but the rest of the humor can range from goofy wordplay, escalating situational comedy, or even Steve Carell tapping into his Michael Scott schtick, a refreshing sight to see. Steve Carell, being the lead of the film crafts one of the most memorable and love-able comedic characters of the year. He definitely has the majority of the funny bits in the film, and proves he is the comedic actor of this generation by how well he does what he does. He delivers hysterical lines rapid fire throughout the movie, what improv you can tell he’s doing on screen is pure comedy magic, and he does it all with that goofy grin on his face, occasionally busting a gut laughing so that you can’t help but laugh with him. Paul Rudd once again plays the straight man to an art, allowing other characters to play off of him, and Zach Galifianikis pops in about 2/3 of the way into the film with a handful of great lines to only add to the already momentous hilarity at that point. I also had a lot of fun with Flight of the Conchord’s Jemaine Clement as Kieran Vollard, a really eccentric artist who spews funny like it’s second nature to him. There are moments you can tell the actors are testing out some improv material and playing off one another that makes for some of the movie’s best moments. That being said, I don’t think the film really hits its full potential comedically speaking. There’s a ton of solid humor to go around, but rarely is there that moment where it just goes to over-the-top hilarity. There’s a lot of work that each actor is clearly putting into their character, and the script gives them all their moment in the spotlight, but once again aside from Carell they didn’t go to over the top hilarity quite as much as I felt like could have been there. It does feel like the director Jay Roach is playing it a little safe with his material and trying to not step on any toes by making a generally appealing comedy.

To be honest, it wasn’t a bad thing to me that they kept the film “safe” in not being a biting commentary or being a really dark comedy, which was something I thought I wanted at first. Throughout the movie they take a note from Apatow’s notebook and make a character as outrageous as Barry and they slowly make him more and more human so that you really care for him even when he’s being “a swirling tornado of destruction”. There are a lot of hidden character moments and little touches of human emotion hidden behind all the craziness that wasn’t necessary per say, but I was so glad it was there. By the end of the film you learn a message about tolerance and how we can all be schmucks sometimes, and it may have been just me but that message really struck me. Moments like that of utter sweetness and heart continue to astonish me in the same film like this where a guy makes a Last Supper recreation with dead mice or even in Get Him to the Greek where in the same film a guy vomits on the Today Show. All in all, Dinner for Schmucks really appeals to a certain demographic. When you see the trailer, that’s exactly what you’re getting. The film could have been a major letdown for me, it could have been without a pulse and dead joke after dead joke. However, as the credits were rolling I was so glad I went to see this, and I can recommend it to a lot of people. Dinner for Schmucks is a special movie that has the human touch to it with a moment or two of real sweetness with its characters, but also gives us some great comedic moments with some of the finest comedic actors of our generation to culminate in some of the most fun I’ve had this summer.

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October 09, 2010
Thanks for this review. I always wondered about this one..
September 27, 2010
I liked this one myself and I rated it 3.5 + as I remember. Nice observations.
More Dinner for Schmucks reviews
review by . July 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 ½ Stars: We All Play the
schmuck- a stupid or contemptible person; oaf      Let’s be honest, all of us have played the role of ‘schmuck’ at one time or another. I have played a ‘schmuck’ and so has most folks (don‘t deny it) and I have often played the fool (remember the song?). Well, director Jay Roach seems to bring out the definition of a ‘schmuck’ into focus with his remake of the 1998 French film “Le Diner de Cons” in this Hollywood film …
review by . November 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****      They say that the best idiots can also make the best characters at times. Idiots can either be plain annoying or actually funny, in spite of the circumstances. Steve Carrel is a truly likable and brutally funny idiot in “Dinner for Schmucks”, a silly, goofy, yet undeniably funny comic romp. The actors essentially use what they’ve got to good effect, and the humor is typically effective. It is in fact one of the funnier comedies of the year, …
review by . August 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I watch a lot of movies, but mostly I watch them when they come out on Showtime or Cinemax. If I go to the actual movie theater, it is usually for something that I think will not translate quite so well to my  television. So, how did I end up at Dinner for Schmucks? I was trying to see Inception...but after 30 minutes of a broken projector, they handed out free movie passes and tickets for popcorn and drinks and sent us on out way into a movie of our choice. The next showtime for Scott Pilgrim …
Quick Tip by . January 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I'm bummed to say I didn't like this movie because i really enjoy the comedy of Steve Carell and Zack Galifinacis (sp?).  This movie was just way too slow in the beginning and middle.  It kind of made me feel the same way i did watching Cable Guy... One guy just wants friends so badly but is such an idiot.  It's just kind of sad to me and not very funny.  The final dinner scene had a couple laughs in it (I had to fast forward to get to it because it was so painfully …
review by . August 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I'm missing something here. I understand that the real schmucks of "Dinner for Schmucks" are played by Bruce Greenwood, Larry Wilmore, and Ron Livingston, not Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, and that means I should be able to see how certain characters and plot elements are ultimately redeemed. So then why do I still feel that this movie is ugly, spiteful, and profoundly unfunny? How is it that I cannot bring myself to feel anything for the characters I'm supposed to have feelings for? What is the one …
Quick Tip by . January 09, 2011
Good grief. I'm finding it hard to believe that such a likeable guy as Paul Rudd can topline so many forgettable features, but, sadly, DINNER fits that bill, too. How did one film manage to corral so many funny people into a horrifically unfunny script? Come the end of the picture, I was unsure of whether I was supposed to feel elated that the film was over or to feel sorry for all the players. Horribly uneven, DINNER plays out like a bad dream or, at least, major indigestion.
review by . August 14, 2010
I saw Dinner for Schmucks in a totally empty theater populated only by me and my youngest. This is a good thing since I found myself in convulsive laughter as close to actually rolling on the floor laughter as I've seen in years.    As suggested by the title a person looking to climb in a company impresses the boss who invites him to a special "dinner" where each person brings an idiot and the winner is the one who produces the biggest loser.    The writing …
review by . August 02, 2010
If only modestly skilled performers had been cast in DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, the film would have been a mess...tonally inconsistent, with a sloppy plot and a final 15 minutes of pure ludicrousness (is that a word?)    Fortunately, the film stars Steve Carrell & Paul Rudd...two of the funniest guys around who also both happen to be extremely adept at giving their outrageous or obnoxious characters real emotional depth.    Paul Rudd plays a mid-level analyst in …
Quick Tip by . August 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie has an excellent cast. Carell's movies are usually good and Rudd was excellent in I Love You Man. Though it looks nonsensical in the trailer, I hope to see it soon.
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
Ranked #157
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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  • Poster art for "Dinner for Schmucks."
Dinner for Schmucks is a 2010 screwball comedy film, inspired by the Francis Veberfilm Le Dîner de cons(or The Dinner Game), sharing only the same premise as the French film.[4]The film was directed by Jay Roachand written by David Guionand Michael Handelman. It stars Steve Carelland Paul Rudd, who had previously teamed up in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundyand The 40 Year-Old Virgin. It was released theatrically on July 30, 2010.
Tim Conrad (Paul Rudd) is a mid-level financial executive, who acquires a negotiation over special novelty lamps with wealthy Swiss businessman Martin Mueller (David Walliams). Impressed by Tim's ingenuity, his boss Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) invites him to a "dinner for winners" in which he must find and bring an eccentric person with a special talent; the winner earns a trophy and the executive that brought him or her gets glory. He soon learns it is more of a "dinner for idiots", and the guests will be mocked mercilessly. Meanwhile, Tim's girlfriend Julie lands a curator deal for eccentric artist Kieran Vollard (Jemaine Clement), and Tim unsuccessfully proposes to her, as he has done several times before. After learning of the cruel nature of the dinner, Julie forces him not to attend.
The next day, Tim accidentally hits IRS employee Barry Speck (Steve Carell) with his car when Barry tries to retrieve a dead mouse in the road. Witnessing Barry's bizarre behavior (he taxidermies mice...
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Director: Jay Roach
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: July 23, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 114 Min
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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