Movie for Schmucks
Like many the thing which attracted me to "Dinner for Schmucks" was that it stars Steve Carell and Paul Rudd as they have been in some seriously funny movies, unfortunately this is not one of them. Now I have never seen the French movie "Le Dīner de Cons" on which this is based but I am pretty sure it must have been much better than this as the humour is too disjointed and the premise becomes weak. In fact "Dinner for Schmucks" ends up very unoriginal as we watch a man innocently destroy another's by being a friend, think "
Tim Conrad (Paul Rudd - I Love You, Man) has a chance of getting a promotion from the 6th floor at Fender Financial but to do so he must bring an idiot to a business dinner which his boss holds for his own sadistic pleasure. Whilst disagreeing with the idea of making fun of idiots he changes his mind when he literally runs into Barry (Steve Carell - Date Night) an anorak wearing nerd who makes models out of dead mice. The only trouble is that when Barry shows up at Tim's apartment he innocently systematically destroys his life by being his friend, causing Tim's girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) to leave and his stalker Darla (Lucy Punch) to show up.
So as I already mentioned "Dinner for Schmucks" is like "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" where an innocently friendly man destroys another's life by being kind. We may get a set up about the dinner where guests bring an idiot with them for humiliation but it is all about Tim's life being ruined by the innocent Barry. Now there is nothing wrong with that except it makes "Dinner for Schmucks" very familiar and inferior to other movies which deliver the same idea.
Get beyond that familiarity you have the humour and whilst we get the jokes surrounding Tim's life in ruins we also get the jokes about Barry being a nerd. Now in truth it works thanks to Steve Carell who is convincing as Barry, making him believably nerdish with out coming across as acting the fool. But then a lot of the humour feels like set pieces, daft ideas for scenes and characters which barely connect. Although for all these misfires the incredible daftness of when we finally get to the dinner is hilarious and not as offensive as you expect.
In many ways the saving grace of "Dinner for Schmucks" is that everyone gives it their all. Rudd and Carell are their usual hilarious selves, bouncing off each other as you would expect. Plus there are plenty of entertaining supporting performances from Chris O'Dowd as a blind fencer to Jemaine Clement as Kieran the flamboyantly freaky artist.
What this all boils down to is that "Dinner for Schmucks" ends up ordinary because the basic idea ends up an ordinary one. But it has its moments with some seriously funny humour and good performances from Carell and Rudd. Plus you will never think of stuffed mice in the same way after watching this.