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Dinner for Schmucks

A 2010 comedy movie directed by Jay Roach.

< read all 10 reviews

A delightfully fun dish.

  • Nov 11, 2010
Rating:
+3
*** 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, although it still lacks the charm of pure comic brilliance. Needless to say, this is a fairly charming and likable film. With this film, nobody is truly a “schmuck”. If you like it, then good for you. If you don’t, then I understand why. It’s obvious that such a silly film won’t appeal to everyone’s comedic taste, but it’s none the less another win for Steve Carrel. It may even rank among his best performances to be outside of “The Office”. It’s not the awesome film that some may call it, but nor is it a complete failure either. It’s a win/win situation. It could either be appealing or upsetting, although either way it should at least appear to be somewhat funny. Again, it’s nothing brilliant. But at least it has Jemaine Clement in it. And that’s a major selling point for me alone. So go see “Dinner for Schmucks”. It’s a delightful night at the movies even if it can feel a bit tedious and lost at times. It is, none the less, a pleasant feast of a movie overall. It’s a winning dinner. And it will not fail to entertain fans, movie watchers, or schmucks alike. So there’s no harm done in seeing it. But there’s no particular harm in avoiding it either. Brilliant!

“Dinner” has a decent little premise. It is, in fact, a remake of a French film by the name of “Le dîner de cons”. Never have I seen the original film, but it doesn’t feel all that essential to do so. At least I was able to enjoy the movie anyways. The premise is this: A down-on-his luck guy has the opportunity to get a sort of promotion, although there’s a catch. He must bring an idiot to dinner, and the best “idiot” wins. At first, the “guy” (who’s name is Tim) does not wish to do something so cruel. He is a kind and respectable man, but he wants the bonus real bad. So alas he finds himself an idiot by fate. This idiot goes by the name of Barry. The “idiot” himself is a sweet yet confused guy who spends his days stuffing dead mice and dressing them up like real people for a scrapbook collection and such. He seems to have little to no friends, although he is very happy in life anyways. So we think. Anyways, Tim agrees to befriend Barry and have the fellow enter his life. Oh, what a mistake that is! Soon, Barry is destroying Tim’s life little by little, until there’s nothing left but the finale; AKA “The Dinner”. So basically the film entertains through many hilarious and extremely goofy situations involving Barry, Tim, a psychic named Therman, and many other colorful and likable people. The film’s plot was terribly familiar and predictable in every way. You can essentially expect that out of a comedy, but it was slightly tedious. Needless to say, it in no way put me off for my appetite. I still tucked in to my dinner quite nicely, and therefore had a pretty good time with this film. Barry is one hell of a funny guy, so like it or not, you’ll laugh. You’ll laugh hard, and for a good amount of time. Sometimes, it’s a bit too goofy to laugh, but otherwise you should be having yourself a nice meal.

I have a weakness for Steve Carrel. I really do like him as an actor, and this time he doesn’t need to save the film he stars in. It’s actually funny for once! None the less, his performance was solid. He plays a genuine “schmuck” as always, in a world full of the opposite kind of people. His character is the life of the party (er…dinner) for the most part, although once in a while one must give up their crown. Paul Rudd works well enough with Carrel yet again, although this time he’s front and center (along with Carrel). Rudd isn’t the idiot here, although he’s playing a good natured man who finds a friend in the annoying “human tornado” named Barry. Carrel gives up his crown (sometimes) to Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), who basically steal the show with his comedic antics. He’s as funny as always, playing another “schmuck” to add on to the film. He’s another one of the “funny” schmucks, which explains why he’s in the film to begin with. Two major selling points for me were the casting of Jemaine Clement and Kristan Schaal, both from the popular show “Flight of the Conchords”. I love that show, and I love the actors. Jemaine is essentially there for hilarity and pure recognition. I laughed whenever I saw the guy, and Kristan is….well, there. Sadly, her role isn’t that large. Otherwise, the film has a lot of talented actors who literally “use what they’ve got”. They clearly put their talents to very good use.

“Dinner for Schmucks” is indeed a pretty funny movie. And I say pretty funny movie, because saying “funny” would be an understatement, and saying “hilarious” would be exaggerating it way too much. I did laugh throughout. The film was funny, and it got the job done. I can’t say that it was truly refreshing, but it is funnier than a lot of films out there. It could have been a truly awful film, but luckily it doesn’t take its gifts for granted. It has charm and appeal as well as humor. Most of the humor is generated through silliness and all-out slapstick. The film is clever, but not entirely intelligent. I am glad to say that I hate most “silly” comedies, but this time is much different. The experience felt slightly more intelligent than most silly slapstick comedies. Screwball comedies simply don’t deserve a place in this world, but “Schmucks” reminds me of what it means to be a funny (yet a bit too silly) comedy that works. I mean, it only really needed to be funny in order to be good, so it’s not as if anyone’s sweating over production. No matter, I consider it clever. The actors help elevate the humor, but some of it is clever on its own. Sometimes, even the silliness can be enjoyable, but then you snap out of it and remember that silliness is a childish quality, even if it can be fun. The visual style of the film was about average. Nothing to special, nothing to crafty. It looked just right. Plus, seeing Jemaine Clement dressed like a goddamn faun is priceless.

Funny, clever, and thoroughly entertaining, this is a pretty fine comedy. It’s one of the better ones of the year, and it is the rarely delightful remake that works on a good amount of levels. Sure, it is not as awesome as I may have wanted it to be, but it is never boring. Mind you, it is quite silly, but please try to ignore that and watch it. It’s better not to complain in a film like this. Just quiet down and enjoy the meal. With idiots and mind control as a solid perk. Who doesn’t like to watch Zach Galifianakis and Steve Carrel shooting “mind bullets” and throwing “mind balls” towards each other? Count me in! Perhaps this is a very fortunate remake, and it doesn’t deserve a second coming. It’s not a sequel worthy film, but it’s appealing enough to be genuinely good. So enjoy the meal while it lasts, because it’s not a painfully awesome feeling as much as it is good. Nevertheless, “Dinner for Schmucks” is delightfully goofy fun.

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January 10, 2011
ah-hah! we rated this movie about the same!
 
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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 . September 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   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 …
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
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … 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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Details

Director: Jay Roach
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: July 23, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 114 Min
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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