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Published on September 2nd, 2010 | by seanear1ey

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Review: Dinner For Schmucks

I’ve never been a huge Paul Rudd fan. I’ve always seen him as playing a moany, boring monogamist in a dead end job. I’ve always felt that he lacked the spark of wit needed to be a comedic actor and usually got his laughs with a pang of pity in most of his roles to date. Even in Anchorman, I felt he was the least funniest of the newsteam. However, Dinner for Schmucks was a turning point for me and Paul. So he didn’t provide the big laughs, but he gives a great performance and I didn’t find him as depressing as usual!

Dinner for Schmucks, based loosely on the film The Dinner Game (Le Dîner de cons), sees Tim (Rudd) trying to work his way up the corporate ladder by approaching a Swiss entrepreneur (Played by a very bronzed David Walliams) with a niche market for his failing business empire. Tim sees the business opportunity as his ticket to an office on the upper floors. Tim’s boss Fender sees his potential and desire to succeed so decides to invite him to a ‘Dinner for Winners’. If he can bring the most ‘interesting’ guest with him, he wins the promotion and new office. However, the ‘Dinner for Winners’ is actually a dinner party where attendees bring the biggest fool they can find with them for factor a dinnertime entertainment.

Enter Barry, played by Steve Carrell. Tim hits him with his Porsche and of course the meeting is more luck than chance. Barry is pretty much a rehash of Carrell’s socially inept ‘Andy Stitzer’ from 40 Year Old Virgin. Except for one thing. Barry is obsessed with mice and creating “Mouse-terpieces”; scale dioramas featuring dead mice in place of people. ‘The Last Supper’ is what Barry is trying to finish when Tim hits him with his car. Tim, who’d been grappling with the ethics of attending this Dinner for Schmucks had been handed a Schmuck, seemingly, from God himself.

What ensues is an hour of Barry destroying Tim’s lovelife, career and apartment. Barry is honestly a good guy who tries hard but fails miserably to the point of predictability. There’s a great performance from Jermaine Clement as ego-filled artist and love rival Kieran Vollard. My favourite casting decision of the film however, was Zach Galifanakis as mind-controller Theremin who is also Barry’s boss at the IRS, which is worth the price of admission alone. And Chris O’Dowd, of the IT Crowd and The Boat That Rocked also plays a minor part in the film.

The film is not your typical Buddy-comedy in that Tim repeatedly tries to rid himself of Barry before the Dinner party but in the end we see that Barry is a genuine person and it’s up to Tim to clear his conscience and realise that the premise of the Dinner party is wrong.

Slightly predictable at places and some good laugh-out-loud moments. A harmless buddy-comedy gone wrong. Go see!

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About the Author

Food Writer with @Culch_ie. Putting the 'elation' in Public Relations since 2009. Digital Man (ager) at @SlatteryComms



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