Dinner for Schmucks - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Jan 4, 2011, 15:17 GMT
Tim (Rudd) is a rising executive who “succeeds” in finding the perfect guest, IRS employee Barry (Carell), for his boss’ monthly event, a so-called “dinner for idiots,” which offers certain advantages to the exec who shows up with the biggest buffoon. ...more
Should I be offended since I was invited to a Dinner for Winners? Probably so, but they must’ve read my reviews or seen my fingernail collection, those swine. Actually, this film may be more akin to being invited to dinner and taking far too long to get there.
Tim Conrad (Paul Rudd) has his eye on a higher job at Fender Financial and a move to the coveted seventh floor office since somebody has been fired. Tim pushes the company to go after arms manufacturer Martin Mueller (David Walliams) whose company is tanking but Mueller is wealthy and landing him would be a boon for them.
It seems that the seventh floor is falling from Tim’s grasp when Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) reveals that he is impressed with Tim’s get-up-and-go. He invites Tim to his “dinner for winners” and he’s charged with bringing a guest with special requirements.
The dinner is not for winners at all, but you have to bring the oddest person you can find so that the diners can make fun of that person behind their back. Tim knows that if he scores by winning the competition at the dinner that that seventh floor office is his for the taking.
Tim’s girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak), who represents loony artist Kiernan Vollard (Jermaine Clement), is offended at the idea of the ridiculing dinner and doesn’t want him to go, so he decides to do it behind her back. He’s lacking his odd guest and is not coming up with one when Barry Speck (Steve Carrell) steps in front of Tim’s car.
Seems Barry is retrieving a dead mouse out of the road for his hobby – making dioramas by taxidermy the mice and putting them in bucolic settings. Tim has found the perfect guest for the dinner falling into his lap. However, Barry coming into Tim’s life has a habit of screwing things up for Tim.
Dinner for Schmucks is based on the French film the Dinner Game. Not familiar with that one, but this redo is billed as a showcase for both Rudd and Carrell. Rudd has the harried go getter down pat and seems to have it all with hot girlfriend Szostak and nice apartment, but wants more only to discover… well you’ll find out (not that it’s not obvious where the movie is going).
Carrell adds oodles of weirdness to his character that leaves Tim’s life a wreck. His odd hobby is actually strangely compelling and the dioramas are a highlight of the film when we’re not witness the cringe-inducing over-the-top situations that Barry drags Tim into.
For a movie that highlights a dinner it takes us a long time to get there, that and the film runs about 2 hours, as we focus on the lunacy that Barry generates showing up for the dinner on the wrong day. They’re surrounded by a passel of lunatics and that’s even before we get to the titular dinner.
Certainly those attending the meal are nuts: a pet psychic reacting to the previous life of dinner, ventriloquist married to his feisty dummy (played by Jeff Dunham who gets good billing but little to do in the actual film), and others. If only the filmmakers had focused on the dinner then we might have a better picture of the cast of crazies that populate the dining table. We’re sort of worn out by the time we set down to eat anyway.
The madcap situations that Barry and Tim are put in just seem like standard movie ploys that water down the concept of the film. Don’t miss the cameo from another comedian as Barry’s malevolent boss. I won’t spoil it for you. Maybe I need to check out the French version and see what they did with it. I can’t fault Rudd and Carrell, well Barry does start to grate, since they do have some funny moments.
Dinner for Schmucks is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1). Special features are presented in high definition. There are 9 minutes of deleted scenes, an 8 minute “Schmuck up” gag reel, the 15 minute making of “The Biggest Schmucks in the World, the 11 minute “Men behind the Mousterpieces” that details the builders of those neat dioramas, the 4 minute “Meet the Winners” has the dinner characters revealing their talents, and the 4 minute “Paul and Steve: The Decision” apes a LeBron James’ special.
The dinner takes a while to get to at nearly two hours, but there are some funny, oftentimes cringe-worthy, scenes before we get to it. Rudd and Carrell are funny but the real standout is a villainous controller of the mind. I’m only writing that because he commanded me to do it.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CJemaine Clement Biography - Paul Rudd Biography -
Paul Rudd Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesStephanie Szostak Biography - Steve Carell Biography -
Steve Carell Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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