Dinner for Schmucks – Jay Roach
Based on the French film Le Diner de cons or The Dinner Game, and teaming up again for the screen are the comedy duo of Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell, last seen in two of my favourite comedies of all time: Anchorman and 40 Year Old Virgin. Using the bases of the film, it defiantly has a European feel to it, and i don’t know if that’s also because of the direction with Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers films and the original Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers. Sure, his track record may show that he isn’t that great. I like the Austin Powers films but i wouldn’t say they are the best comedies ever, and i can’t stand the whole hysteria wrapped around those films. So many people go to see them and i just can’t figure out what’s funny about them. Even the title grates me. But anyway, less of those shit films and more about Dinner for Schmucks!
Set around the premise of where people bring “entertaining” guests to a dinner party to laugh and mock them, each member must outdo their brethrens and this leads to some of the most eccentric characters turning up. But before the party, we are introduced to a story in which can revolve around the end conclusion of the party. Tim Conrad, played by Paul Rudd is a mid-level employee at a financial company and he wants more, so after impressing his boss by being able to sell a deal with a wealthy Swish business man he is invited to the dinner. He must now find someone to bring otherwise he will be shunned by the group. He stumbles across Barry Speck played by Steve Carrell, an IRS employee with a fascination with mouse’s and using their dead bodies to create pieces of art and dressing them up. Seeing the opportunity, Tim strikes a friendship and they begin on their journey towards the dinner, hitting a few bumps with Tim’s girlfriend not agreeing to the dinner’s principle, a local artist who is very sexual and an ex who is very possessive. Barry seems to enflame these situations including taking Tim to see a friend of his who turns out to be a mind-reading lunatic, played by Zach Galifinakis. It does throw in some great cameos performances from really funny comedians like Jemaine Clement, Andrea Savage, Lucy Punch, David Walliams, Chris O’Dowd and Kristen Schaal.
It’s funny but not in an annoying way. Some scenes will make you laugh out loud whilst others will have you chuckling, but mostly inside. Both Rudd and Carrell are likeable and Galifinakis in particular steals the show here with his hysteric performance.