Dinner for Schmucks
Director: Jay Roach, Paramount Pictures, Rated PG, 114 mins
Despite his earlier success with such comedies as Meet the Fockers and Meet the Parents, director Jay Roach appears to have missed the mark on his latest comedic production.
A remake of French director Francis Veber's 1998 comic masterpiece The Dinner Game - a social satire focusing on the aristocracy and the ridiculous measures they take to amuse themselves - Roach’s storyline revolves around an ambitious analyst called Tim (Paul Rudd from I Love You Man).
Tim is desperate to gain favour and promotion from his boss, Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood from Mao’s Last Dancer) head of a financial firm, so he can marry his longtime sweetheart Julie (Stephanie Szostak).
Having secured an important Swiss client for the firm, Tim is also obliged to attend his boss’s crass dinner party at which he must bring along a guest (in actual fact an idiot) at whom Fender and his small group of executives can poke fun at, ridicule and even award a trophy to for being the dumbest dinner guest.
Much to Tim’s surprise he accidentally comes across such a person in the form of Barry (overplayed by comic genius Steve Carell from ‘Date Night’) an employee of the Internal Revenue Service whose hobby is stuffing and dressing up small mice in cute costumes and placing them into detailed display cases.
Even though there is a kind of chemistry between the performances of Carell and Rudd - with Rudd playing the straight man and Carell the fool, it is Carell’s over the top tomfoolery that does begin to grate at times in certain scenes.
Besides Carell and Rudd there are also some funny performances of two other characters - that of Kieran (played by New Zealander Jemaine Clement) and Therman (The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis).
Overall, Roach’s Dinner for Schmucks does have instances of humour that provides some entertainment value to those prepared to participate in this type of dinner party.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamps
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