Dinner for Schmucks

Sometimes a movie can grab your attention just from its title.  “Snakes on a Plane” is rumored to catch Samuel L. Jackson’s eye that he said “Yes” to it without even reading the script.  “Dinner for Schmucks” is a title that would grab anyone’s attention.  It’s a funny title so one hopes that the script and the cast filling the roles can deliver a memorable comedy.  Thankfully, with talent such as Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and director Jay Roach, the movie has a good shot.

Tim (Rudd) is an up and coming executive at a financial firm.  He is on the verge of getting the ultimate promotion.  His boss, Mr. Fender (Bruce Greenwood) invites him over to his house for his monthly Dinner for Winners get together.  The dinner is actually an excuse for the executives to invite the biggest, outrageous idiots they can find in order to make fun of them.  Tim is reluctant to participate, especially because the very notion of doing so would anger his girlfriend, Julie (Stephanie Szostak); but, then he runs into Barry (Carell), literally with his car.  It only takes a few minutes for Tim to realize that Barry is a “special” person who could be the perfect person for him to bring to the dinner.

The plot may sound a little thin.  Do characters like the ones who show up to the dinner really exists in our world?  Can they be that blissfully unaware of how they are and what other people most likely think of them?  Probably not; but, we go to the movies to escape reality for a little while.  Plus, all the actors in the movie really embrace their roles that make them completely believable which is what helps makes this movie such a good time.

Steve Carell raises his reputation as a comedic actor to a whole new level.  He has so much fun in this movie and its obvious Jay Roach just let the actor do what he does best.  Rudd plays the perfect straight man throughout the movie.  There is a hysterical supporting cast as well.  Jermaine Clement plays Kieran, an eccentric artist who has his eye on Julie, who practically steals every scene he is in.  Zach Galifianakis plays Barry’s boss, both work at the I.R.S., Therman who believes he can control other people’s minds.  He can at least control Barry’s and the two play off each other really well.

There are great laughs throughout the movie.  Sometimes it comes in the dialogue, sometimes there is physical humor and then there are moments in the movie where the characters find themselves in the most messed up situations imaginable that it will have you both squirming in your seats and laughing at the same time.  There are some sweet moments in the movie too.  There is a point in the movie where Barry says, “If someone says you can’t so something, you say ‘Yes, I can!  I’m doing it right now!’”  So movie sends a positive message out there as well.

Comedies are one of the staples of the summer season, some hit the mark (“Grown Ups”) while others want to make you cry you spent your good money on them (“Get Him  to the Greek”).  “Dinner for Schmucks” is one that hits the mark.  You can find where it is playing locally by using the tool below.  It is rated PG-13 for sequences of crude and sexual humor, language and partial nudity.