Friday, July 30, 2010

Dinner for Schmucks

I didn’t expect a whole lot from Dinner for Schmucks; I assumed it would be kind of dumb actually. But I’m happy to report, the movie is hilarious. I’d say it’s this summer’s Hangover.

Paul Rudd plays Tim, an analyst for some kind of financial firm. He’s trying to make his way up the corporate ladder and needs to impress his boss. The boss and his cronies invite him to a special dinner, where each employee must bring an idiot so they can all have a laugh. Tim feels a little weird about that, but he eventually meets Steve Carell’s character, Barry, and decides he’s the perfect idiot.

The movie isn’t just about this dinner; that only happens at the end. This is really the story of how Tim meets Barry, and how Barry keeps screwing up Tim’s life. Tim wants to marry his girlfriend, but now that Barry is in the picture, things get pretty messed up.

Steve Carell is better than ever in Dinner for Schmucks. He could have easily taken this role too far. I think Carell must have some kind of alarm that goes off when he borders on over-the-top, something that Jim Carrey lacks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jim Carrey, but he would have ruined this movie. Carell brings a certain amount of pitiful to Barry, and you feel sorry for him. Everything about him is endearing, and that’s all due to Carell’s performance, which is on par with John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

You can tell when Tim first objects to the dinner for winners, that the movie has a sensitive spot. It definitely does. At first you say, yeah, these guys are total idiots. But then we get to know them and we see that their talents are pretty impressive. The moral of the story is obviously don’t invite people over just to make fun of them. It’s not an extraordinary message, but what I’m saying is, Dinner for Schmucks isn’t all schmuck jokes.

Barry’s talent is totally absurd, but only at first. After a while we realize that he’s amazing at what he does. The talent the writer’s created for him is truly an art form in itself, and it works on several levels. I’d really like to meet the prop designer. The other idiots at the dinner are similar. They seem ridiculous, but, in their own right, they’re very talented. The biggest idiot of them all is Kieran, played by Jemaine Clement, and he’s not even invited to the dinner. He’s an artist who’s very involved in his rather perverted craft, and works very closely with Tim’s curator girlfriend. I’ve never really followed the guy, but he’s brilliant here.

Dinner for Schmucks is just a really funny movie. The jokes just keep coming and they really aren’t too dirty or juvenile. For me, every joke is cleverly written, and just when you think they’re going too far, you’re hit with a totally different joke. It’s hilarious and I definitely see this as a dvd on regular viewing rotation, just like The Hangover.

4 mice


Danish said...

Dinner for Schmucks film I spend the money on viewing, I anticipate greatness from, 2010 has not fulfilled my desire up until Inception and Dinner For Schmucks, Jay Roach has put together a masterpiece, with brilliant actors and a brilliant (Originally French) script! I have no seen the French edition but I hear it doesn't compare, and I have faith, this film was exciting and unconquerable, Paul Rudd fit the glove well and Carrell was delightful. This movie is a good investment of your time, and I am planning another trip to the movies for Dinner once again! From the Previews, i must say this movie looks like it would fall before is even tried to walk, but Schmucks is surprising in every way, including a touch of romance, and it's heartwarming tendencies!

Geof said...

My review on this one is going up on my site later. Thought it was hilarious! Dumb comedy, sure, but that's what I expected. Nice review, Jeff.


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