Dinner for Schmucks

First Hit: Parts of this film are very very funny while other segments seemed only to exist to extend its length (think long setups) and to make the film more serious.

This is a remake (or re-hash) of the French film Le diner de cons (The Dinner Game) in which a group of people bring the dumbest person they can find for dinner.

In this film Paul Rudd plays Tim, a well-meaning man who is overextended financially, works for a company that is financially struggling, has a great girlfriend and is out to impress her and others.

His next step is to move from the sixth floor to the seventh floor in his office building which means he’ll be one of the executives who gets paid a lot more money and has some clout in the company. He thinks that with this promotion he'll be able to afford the lifestyle he thinks he needs to have for him and his girlfriend Julie (played by Stephanie Szostak).

When he makes a gutsy move during a business meeting, he catches the eye of his boss who tells him he can move up to the seventh floor if he passes an initiation. The initiation is going to dinner at the bosses house and to bring an idiot.

Julie hears of this event and trusts Tim to turn down the dinner because it's cruel to invite an idiot to dinner for the sole purpose of making fun of him. But Tim wants to do both and is afraid if he doesn’t go through with it he’ll lose Julie.

This is where Steve Carell as Barry the idiot comes to the rescue. He’s an IRS agent who is kind of heart, creates havoc wherever he goes, has good intentions, and takes dead mice, stuffs them, dresses them and makes idyllic scenes of love with them.

How all this ends up you’ll have to watch the film, but let it be known, there are some very funny scenes and some long winded sequences which could have used some shears to make this film really crisp and funny.

Carell is absolutely perfect as the well-meaning guy who could use some real friends, has an odd hobby, and is well intentioned in his actions. I loved the playing dead sequences – perfect. Rudd is pretty good at staying close to his base character and not over acting to more closely mirror some of the action around him. Jemaine Clement is superb as the artist who is really self absorbed and thinking he is the gift of man to all women. Zach Galifianakis is great as Carell’s IRS co-worker who believes he has the power of mind control. Szostak is OK as Rudd’s girlfriend but as if she didn’t bring anything unique to the part or film.

Overall: I really laughed hard as many of the films segments and bits but there were moments I was just waiting for the next thing to happen.