Dinner for SchmucksFeature Film |
A rather lazy big-budget comedy remake.
A broad, mainstream Hollywood comedy, Dinner for Schmucks generates a decent number of laughs; it's just that with the talent assembled, one might expect more. In this remake of Francis Veber's The Dinner Game, the estimable Paul Rudd stars as Tim, a financial analyst who invites Barry (Steve Carell), IRS agent and taxidermy hobbyist (he creates "mouse-terpieces" by anthropomorphizing dead rodents in various tableaux), to a "Dinner for Idiots," a cruel monthly "game" played by the bosses Tim hopes to impress. The French original is notable because the main character is a soulless jerk that deserves his comeuppance, and the titular dinner is decidedly not a focal point of the plot. In director Jay Roach's remake, Tim is a blandly amiable guy who just loses his way, and the haphazard dinner scene is meant to be the comedic climax of the film. In a way, the remake is both safer (because the protagonist is likeable) and crueler (because he's surrounded by grotesques, where in the original the supporting characters are more sympathetic). Rudd and Carell are watchable and amusing, and Jemaine Clement and David Walliams manage to bring a bit of humanity to their cartoonish roles. But with this much comedic talent on hand, it's a shame that the film feels so lazy, silly, and mean-spirited.