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July 30, 2010 > Movie Review: Dinner for Schmucks

Movie Review: Dinner for Schmucks

By Jennifer Gau

What defines an idiot? Who is authorized to label people so? People with lots of money feel like they do and enter dangerous territory when they decide to invite such people to dinner for entertainment. Tim (Paul Rudd), a guy driven to impress the big boss, tries to find the perfect guest to bring to dinner. As if by a sign sent from above, Tim meets Barry (Steve Carell) whose hobby is to create adorable scenes with mice dressed in tiny outfits. Barry is quite a creative and eccentric individual dedicated to his passion. However, he lacks social tact. Director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, 2000) brings out one unbelievable event after the other to lead to the greatly anticipated dinner.

Steve Carell is a priceless gem and there is no one else who could have played a better Barry. His experience as Michael, the idiot manager, in the NBC TV show "The Office" is brought to the next level in hilarity. Moreover, he works incredibly well with Zach Galifianakis (Hangover, 2009). It is obvious these two had a great time playing with the characters and crafting outrageous moments only those two could deliver. However, the fun did not only orbit around those two; Jemaine Clement of the HBO comedy "Flight of the Conchords" also contributed to the many roars of laughter as an artist who personifies animal instincts and processes.

The set and costumes in this film portray differences in social status. "Dinner for Schmucks" is filled with fitting props that accentuate deviation from normalcy down to the very last detail including wire glasses on the male mouse. No spectacular filming tricks were used. All that is needed is the right angle on the facial expressions. However, the lingering facial close-ups should have been taken out for the big screen.

The similarities with Francis Veber's French version "The Dinner Game" makes the story predictable for those who have seen it before. Yet "Dinner for Schmucks" delivers an extra touch and twist here and there. Both movies are creative and have the same magic that gives the audience something to giggle about as it dances on the edge of society's expectations. "Dinner for Schmucks" is a ridiculously funny and an easy-going movie for those just looking for a good time.

Runtime: 1 hour 50 minutes
Rated: PG-13

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