Dinner for Schmucks: Table Scraps for Us—Movie

Move over Hot Tub Time Machine. You no longer have the title, “Worse Movie in 2010.” Dinner for Schmucks wins in a landslide.

There are no words to describe the sheer awfulness that is Dinner for Schmucks, but I will try. NOT FUNNY are two words that come to mind immediately.

Dinner for Schmucks, directed by Jay Roach and written by David Guion and Michael Handelman) and based on Francis Veber’s “Le Diner de Cons” (which must be better; how can it be worse?), is the story of office politics run amok. In order to secure a promotion, Tim (Paul Rudd) is invited by his boss, Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood), to a semi-secret dinner at his home where the invitees must bring some unsuspecting soul, who is an idiot on some level. Initially appalled by the idea, Tim’s misgivings go out the window when he literally runs into Barry (Steve Carell). Aside from being obnoxious, Barry’s talent is creating art out of “taxidermed” mice. A fairly unfunny movie at this point, the introduction of this character renders the remaining movie “comedy-less.” Also in the mix of least funny characters ever is Zach Galifianakis as Therman, Barry’s boss, and Jemaine Clement as Kieran, a stereotypical pretentious artist who may or may not be putting the moves on Tim’s girlfriend, Julie (Stephanie Szostak).

It’s hard to tell if Steve Carell is a horrible actor or just someone who needs better directing. He has the potential to be better… I think. Zach Galifianakis is the new “it boy.” I do not know why. He is either a terrible actor or he needs better material and most definitely a better director ( I think it’s all three). So far Galifianakis has proven to be a one-trick pony. He’s next appearing in a movie with Robert Downey, Jr. Maybe he will pick up some acting tips from him.

Does the movie have any redeeming factors? Yes. Paul Rudd. He’s a real actor and it shows. How he manages to turn in an actual performance is beyond me. This man deserves so much better. Also not embarrassing themselves are Greenwood and Ron Livingston as Tim’s nemesis at work. These three don’t rely on mugging or tired schtick (this means you, Zach). The office scenes are the only truly funny scenes in the movie.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how creative the mice are. Whoever is responsible for them is a genius. These art forms are truly amazing.

One can only hope that Dinner for Schmucks fades away quickly. I’m trying very hard to erase it from my memory bank.

½ nugget out of 4

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