Thursday, January 27, 2011

Under 250: Dinner for Schmucks

It doesn’t seem that hard to write a good comedy vehicle for Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis. Sure, it would be hard for me, but for the old comedy pros in Hollywood, you’d think they could at least make something derivative yet funny. There are some people that can do the nonsensical crazy post-modern comedy thing well (Andy Samberg, Seth McFarlane, the Coen Bros., the team that gave us The Hangover), but the creative team that has given us Dinner for Schmucks, are not those people. When assigning traits to Mr. Carell’s insufferable Barry, including his hobby of collecting and stuffing dead mice for use in dioramas, they failed to realize the thin line that exists between said post-modern and plain weird/stupid. Little is funny in this film, including the great missed opportunity of Galifinakas as psychopathic mind controlling IRS agent. If they had some proper slapstick, if you let Carell and Galifianakis be Carell and Galifianakis, you might have had something here, but instead Dinner leaves you feeling like you’ve spent the last two hours staring at a dead mouse diorama, confused, disappointed, and annoyed, especially when they try to inject life into the DOA onscreen relationships near the end.

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