Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dinner For Schmucks opened this past weekend and Scotty C. Is back with his thoughts on the movie, after the break.

“Dinner For Schmucks” is the comedy of the summer that works the laughs with a sweet center at its core.

Paul Rudd plays Tim, an analyst looking to get promoted so he can marry the girl of his dreams Julie (Stephanie Szostak). After speaking up in a meeting about a possible account, the boss Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) likes Tim’s take and invites him to a secret dinner. At the dinner, everyone brings a guest that is an idiot and the party becomes a night of laughing at these people. If Tim brings a great guest to the dinner, he is assured the promotion. It just so happens that Tim runs Barry (Steve Carrell) over with his car while he is picking up a dead mouse off the street. After an ideal conversation after a car wreck involving Barry paying Tim to not get lawyers involved, Tim invites Barry to the dinner in two nights.

Barry is a taxidermist in his spare time putting together dioramas of mice. He is almost like a savant in that as irrational or hopeless he seems, he isn’t without some good ideas.

Tim’s girlfriend is an art curator and right now she is working with Kieran (Jemaine Clement), an unconventional artist whose artistic process involves lots of sex. Tim is threatened by Kieran and with good reason, he has his sights set on Julie.

Barry shows up to Tim’s apartment one night before the dinner telling him that no one was at that address. Tim tries to tell him that the dinner was the next night. Barry is not convinced. The sheer act of allowing Barry into Tim’s apartment opens a Pandora’s Box of disaster for Tim. Throughout the film, Barry always has a solution that just might work.

I will leave it at that because this movie is best left spoiler free going in much like “Inception.”

This is the biggest cast in a movie since “The Invention of Lying” (seriously that film had a great cast even though it was a mediocre film.) No fear here. This movie delivers. The cast is a stacked deck of great comedy actors. Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell are heavyweights. Ron Livingston from “Office Space.” Zach Galifianakis from “The Hangover.” Jemaine Clement from “Flight of the Concords.” Larry Wilmore and Kristen Shaal from “The Daily Show.” And Bruce Greenwood from “Firehouse Dog.”

Director Jay Roach has made his living off the “Austin Powers” and “Fockers” franchises so it’s great to see him make an original film. Oh yeah, this isn’t totally original. It’s a remake of the French film, “The Dinner Game.” Critics have been mixed on this movie. Maybe “The Dinner Game” is great. I haven’t seen it. Maybe this is the equivalent to a Chris Rock remake of “Down To You” or “Death at a Funeral.”

Judging this movie on its own merit, it is funny but what makes this movie stand out from most comedies that are applying the Judd Apatow gross out effect is this film has a soul. You feel for the characters you are supposed to care for. You’re invested in Barry and Tim like a 401K. The sweet center is the ingredient that will pull women into the film and it should have a great weekend at the box office.


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