Movie Review: Dinner for Schmucks, starring Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Zach Galifianakis and Jemaine Clement (with trailer video)

[image-1]Barry as a character is what I imagine Michael Scott would be like if faced with the real world. He uses many of the same comedic techniques (getting words and quotes wrong, misplaced enthusiasm, complete incredulity toward females) and can't seem to function normally in society. We know Carell has range, so it only stands to reason that his role was written for him by someone who loves The Office and had no mind to create a new character.


I will say that there are enough laughs to distract from the overall dud of a plot. Keiran, Jemaine Clement's pretentious artist/animal fetishist, is worth the watch all by himself. Throw in Darla (Lucy Punch), a leather-clad sexual deviant with a psychotic fixation on Tim, and a mind-reading IRS manager (Zach Galifianakis) and suddenly, the story itself just ceases to matter.


Surprisingly, the climactic dinner scene is not the comedic high point of the film. It tries to hard to be over-the-top and heartfelt, and instead just comes across as insincere (excluding the bit where the animal psychic communicates with a plate of lobster).


What seems to have happened here is a bunch of talented comedians goofed off over a script they knew was sub-par. Viewers already know this story, right down to the last plot point. So, if you're willing to switch off and sit back for the ride, there are some sincerely great laughs. But remember: You're only eating the frosting off of one salty cake.


What do you get when you take three Daily Show vets, fold in a side of Flight of the Conchords, add a dash of Hot Fuzz and a little sprinkling of Jeff Dunham (don't over-do that last ingredient or your dish might come out a little racist-y)? Well, you get Dinner For Schmucks, which looks appetizing — but then again, so did that cake you accidentally baked with salt instead of sugar.

Dinner for Schmucks should have been incredible. It has a great cast, a promising premise and is being released after a parade of summer flops. But instead it's lame, with a stupid rom-com central storyline and a thinly drawn main character, Tim (Rudd).

To summarize, Tim must find an idiot to bring to an executive dinner in order to secure a promotion. He makes the mistake of divulging this challenge to his incredibly uptight other half, who quickly gets all purse-lipped and tells him he mustn't. Tim almost listens to her, but when he runs down a sad, sad taxidermist named Barry (Carell) with his Porsche, he decides that fate is telling him to go to the frat boy dinner and get that job.

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]