Thursday, January 27, 2011

Under 250: Dinner for Schmucks

Yes, the original French version The Dinner Game is the better movie.  Yes, this is one of those comedies in which a character is destructively annoying.  Yes, it's overdone and predictable and you sit there wondering why Paul Rudd's straight-man can't get one step ahead of Steve Carell's out-and-out idiot.  That said, if you can accept that Dinner for Schmucks will never be as good as the original and will always try too hard, there's actually quite a bit of absurdity here to guiltily enjoy. Jemaine Clement (who I really kind of love), for example, as an egocentric, lascivious artist is a scene stealer.  Steve Carell's character's 'schmucky' passion for elaborate taxidermy mouse dioramas, too, actually manages to be fairly impressive.  Zach Galifianakis as a mind control wizard in a turtleneck dickey is also suitably ridiculous.  So, while the film may frequently stoop to low-brow physical comedy or tedious moments of destruction, there's something as guilelessly likable about its stupidity that's as repulsively endearing as Carell's can't-take-a-hint geek.  At the very least, watch the featurette on the production of the mouse dioramas.  There's an absurd amount of work that went into them.  For real:  uncredited stars of the film.   

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