So me and Shaun went to the see the new Steve Carell film Dinner For Schmucks this evening. I’ll be honest the reviews I’ve heard haven’t really left me with much confidence (Rotten Tomatos has given it a rating of 47%) but I was pleasently suprised.
The basic concept of the film is that a man is angling for a promotion and is invited to a dinner by his Boss – a dinner where he has to bring with him, as a guest, an idiot who can then be mocked by the rest of the guests. The dinner is advertised as a winners dinner, with an award at the end of it for the biggest winner (in reality the biggest idiot). Steve Carell plays the part of the idiot taken to this dinner and does so with Jim Carrey style aplomb.
I found Carells performance to be good fun – he plays the idiot well, switching between physical comedy and one-liners quickly and comfortably. Paul Rudd gets (understandable) increasingly worked up as the film goes through, but I found him a character I could sympathise with. The supporting cast is fantastic with lots of recogonisable names generally looking like they’re having a good time – it’s nice to see Chris O’Dowd (Roy from the IT Crowd) playing a blind fencer, and Jermaine Clement (from Flight of the Conchords) playing an artist who wouldn’t be out of place attending the Dinner for Schmucks. I’ve never really encountered Stephanie Szostak (who plays Paul Rudds girlfriend art curator) before but I thought she provided a good love interest and you could feel her pain throughout the film (she doesn’t approve of the idea of the dinner). I must admit I was a bit disappointed by Zach Galifianakis – I just found the role he played somewhat generic without any of the charm and wierdness I would’ve expected from him having seeing him in the fantastic Tru Calling – it could be that this was a direction so as to not out-shine Steve Carell, I just feel he could’ve done more with his character.
As Shaun pointed out when we left the cinema, some of the jokes that seem throw away one-liners earlier in the film come back and bite you with alot more a serious comment later which gives this film a bit more of a bite – it’s based on a French film called The Dinner Game and I think it would be interesting to look them up to compare them – this had moments where I feel it could’ve turned and made some biting comments which it shied away from – though that may then have left a film that you didnt enjoy so much. Both me and Shaun came out of the cinema with big grins on our faces as we’d enjoyed this more than we had both expected too – it’s not one I’m going to rush to see again, or buy on DVD (and yes you probably can wait for the DVD if you want to see this) but it’s worth giving it a couple of hours.
So in conclusion – this did pass the comedy test (I laughed out loud over five times) and did find this very entertaining. It’s received alot of negative press and isn’t going to go down as a classic film, but give this it’s chance, suspend your disbelief and sit back – I think you’ll enjoy.