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Dinner for Schmucks (2010)

Steve Carell is an idiot! I had no idea he could be this stupid. He is a true-blue dummy. I don’t mean literally, I’m talking about his role in his latest film. Dinner for Schmucks goes on the list for one of the funniest comedies of the year. Almost singlehandedly because of the “idiot” I spoke about at the beginning. Carell goes for the hat trick with his third comedy of the year and very well delivers.

Re-teaming with Paul Rudd, Carell plays Barry, a taxidermist who dresses up dead mice and re-creates famous works of art for a hobby. Rudd plays Tim, an equity executive who is on the verge of a very big promotion. But in order to fit in with the higher-ups at his company, he must impress them at a special dinner that they hold once a month. They each bring an “extraordinary person” to the dinner for entertainment and proceed to make fun of them. Without the knowledge of their guests, of course.

Tim, needing a guest of his own, literally runs into Barry and his prayers are answered. Between his interesting past time of decorating dead mice and his way of making a bad situation much worse, he seems like the perfect candidate for this special dinner. All Tim has to do is make it through the couple days before the dinner now that Barry has inserted himself into his life. Non-stop laughs would be an understatement watching these two’s dynamic unfold as Barry proceeds to innocently ruin whatever he gets his hands on in Tim’s life.

Barry’s character traits, childish curiosity, and just sheer ridiculousness (if that’s a word) reminded me of a crazy Jim Carrey in his prime. When he was simply just being dumb in classic roles like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Liar Liar. Although there are other outrageous characters in this movie, Carell takes the cake and smears it all over his face in the name of comedy. Paul Rudd does a good job at being the sensible contrast to Carell’s idiocy. Much like any other stories, the film wouldn’t have worked with one without the other.

Zach Galifianakis as Therman, Barry’s rival, and self-proclaimed master of mind control is also utterly hilarious in his scenes in this movie. Probably my second favorite character behind Barry, placing himself and Carell on screen together can be classified as comedic gold. Then there is Kieran Vollard (Jemaine Clement), a very un-contemporary and sexually eccentric artist whose work will leave you scratching your head searching for something to think about it.

With too many crazy characters to list here without giving away plenty of situations that will have you trying not to laugh while explaining the movie to those who haven’t seen it yet, the movie doesn’t have much room to become slow and boring. The jokes are pretty rapid fire with plenty of “OMG” moments to go around; just ask my movie going partner for the evening. I lost count how many times those three letters came out of her and the rest of the audiences mouths.

With Director Jay Roach leading the way, who also brought us Meet the Parents, there’s no surprise at all of the uncomfortable situations contained in the script. Scenes that make the audience feel embarrassed for the characters themselves. While still laughing hysterically at them of course. The screen play by David Guion and Michael Handelman is based off of a French play-turned-movie written by Francis Veber titled Le Diner de Cons (The Dinner Game). Same premise, idiots are invited to dinner and the fun begins. A little fun fact: the dinner scene shot in the movie was filmed at the same location that was used as Wayne Manor in the Batman television series.

Steve Carell has turned in some pretty funny roles in the past; Michael in The Office, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and of course the classic 40 Year Old Virgin. But in terms of just outright 2 hours of crisp, authentic stupidity, I think this film might take home the trophy. Sad to see him leave his boss’ position on The Office, but very glad to allow him to make me laugh while on the big screen, I give Dinner for Schmucks “4.5 dressed up dead mice out of 5”.

-“My wife left me because she said I couldn’t find her clitoris…I looked in her purse, but it wasn’t there”
-“Why would you think it was in her purse?”
-“Because usually everything she loses winds up in her purse somehow”


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