Published Jul 29, 2010Though Dinner for Schmucks provides consistent laughs throughout its two-hour run time, it's the film's heart that makes it stand out from lesser screwball comedies.
Like Dumb and Dumber mixed with Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Dinner for Schmucks is an odd-couple buddy comedy that follows a traditional straight man/funny man formula, but rather than keeping all the laughs for himself, Steve Carell's funny man also acts as an anchor for this ship of motley fools, allowing the ensemble cast of Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Zack Galifianakis (The Hangover), Chris O'Dowd (The IT Crowd) and David Williams (Little Britain) to take turns in the spotlight and keep the humour fresh.
The premise is simple: in order to receive a big promotion, Tim (Paul Rudd) must attend an executive dinner party and participate in a contest wherein each attendee brings the biggest idiot they can find as a guest. As luck would have it, Tim meets Barry (Steve Carell), a loveable loser who spends his spare time creating elaborate dioramas out of taxidermied mice. Soon, the earnest but dim-witted dinner guest is causing havoc in Tim's private and professional life.
Though his character is a total goof, Carell works his acting magic, ensuring that Barry is sympathetic and that audiences will care about him despite his eccentricities. Rudd holds his own as the only normal character in the film, providing a sounding board for the hilariously over-the-top performances of his fellow cast members.
While Dinner for Schmucks might not be "fall out of your seat" funny, the laughs rarely let up and always hit their mark. This is a perfect, light-hearted summer comedy that will leave you laughing all the way home from the theatre. (Paramount)