Today: May 25, 2024

Dinner For Schmucks DVD/Blu-ray

Mad capped shenanigans that
are lifted thanks to Steve Carrel’s nutso performance.

Based on the 1998 French film
Le Diner De Cons, Dinner For Schmucks posses an impressive pedigree of comedic
talent.

Director Jay Roach is the man behind
such box-office behemoths as the Austin Powers franchise and the Meet The
Parents films while the cast, including the likes of Little Britain’s David Walliams, The Hangover’s (2009) Zach Galifianakis, Role Model’s (2008) Paul Rudd and cream of the crop Steve Carell, show that here is
material ripe for tickling the proverbial funny bone.

The
film sees Tim (Rudd), a lowly analyst at a big company who has ideas of making
it big and marrying his girlfriend Julie (Szostak). When his boss invites him
to a dinner he heartedly agrees until he is informed that he must bring an
idiot to the table. The rule is simple, the person that brings the most
outrageous and unbelievable idiot, or ‘Schmuck’, although the word is never
used in the film, wins the competition. Deciding that such a thing is degrading
Tim looks for an excuse not to attend. That is until he accidentally hits Barry
(Carell) with his car and realises that with his unique brand of childish
hysteria could take the coveted trophy and gain the promotion he so desires.

Much like last year’s Due
Date, Dinner For Schmucks seems to revolve around a very cruel sense of humour
. In essence the plot sees
high earning businessmen exploiting wacky and simple-minded individuals for
their own amusement. However, in the
same vein as Due Date, Dinner has a lot of heart at its core and as a result
manages to transcend its mean origins
.

The
titular dinner does not actually take place until the final half hour of the
film and, essentially, it is here where the film fails. Thankfully the previous
ninety minutes is a fun and heartfelt bromance between the cynical Tim and the always-happy
Barry.

Roach
brings some of his more cringe worthy comedy, from the Meet The Parents films,
to the fore but it is always done with a smile rather than a grimace. Although there are situations you know are
going to end badly, for Tim in particular, you always sense, and rightly so,
that everything will be alright on the night
. So when Tim finds himself
trying to woo a potential client, in the form of David Walliams on typically
surreal form, Barry turns up determined to make sure the event goes smoothly.
It doesn’t of course but at no point do you want to put your head in your hands
and sigh with depression. Instead Roach creates a tone of universal fun that
while we might feel sorrow for Barry’s idiocy we soon realise he is perfectly
happy in his life. There is no tragedy
to this piece just slapstick madness
.

Much
of this is made possible by an inform cast. Rudd is always brilliant as the
straight man with his sarcastic delivery and here continues that trend without
breaking new ground. Galifianakis gives a fun turn as Barry’s boss who claims
to be able to read minds. But it is
Carell who not only steals the show but also the heart. His wide-eyed portrayal
of Barry is like a cartoon come to life.
Yes he is goofy and not someone
you would ever likely encounter but he does it all with so much innocent charm
you cannot help but fall for him.

Off the wall and utterly
crazy but always in an enjoyable smile inducing way, Dinner For Schmucks is a
gratefully received invite
.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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