Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Dinner For Schmucks: A slacker’s review

Posted by bdowd625 on August 2, 2010

I love Steve Carrell. I’ve loved him since 2005 when he burst onto the scene in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” as a lovable, yet sexually-inept dork. His role as Michael Scott in the television hit “The Office” has only solidified my appreciation for his comedic abilities. “That’s what she said” has made its way into my everyday lexicon, and for that, I’m forever grateful.

After seeing “Dinner For Schmucks” last night, though, it’s becoming apparent Carrell is having a hard time breaking away from his Michael Scott persona. The movie is about an up-and-coming financial analyst (Paul Rudd), who has a chance to move up the corporate ladder if he can make the right impression on the company’s top executives at a monthly dinner party. The executives insist that Rudd find someone with a strange talent – or schmuck, if you will –  to bring to the party. Once there, the schmucks listen to backhanded compliments while the executives laugh hysterically at their expense. 

Rudd initially has reservations about taking part in such a cruel tradition, but he eventually runs into Carrell’s character, who works for a branch of the IRS and spends his free time as a mouse taxidermist. (Yes, you read that correctly. Strange, I know.) Rudd realizes Carrell is the perfect guinea pig to bring to the party and Carrell accepts the invitation, unaware of the disaster that awaits him. Carrell ends up infringing on Rudd’s personal life the night before the dinner, however, and everything but hilarity ensues. Carrell channels his best Michael Scott, sabotaging Rudd’s relationship, overstepping nearly every boundary and acting like an ignorant douchebag that even the biggest Office fan will have a hard time liking.

The whole plot moves along rather slowly for the first three quarters of the movie, and several times during that span I wanted to walk up to the screen and punch Carrell’s character right in his digital face. He’s just so damn oblivious to even the most obvious situations that it’s hard not to yell at him while you’re sitting in the theater. Thankfully, the last 20 minutes or so salvaged what could have been a downright awful movie. There’s a redeeming scene for all the schmucks at the dinner party and a hysterical montage of mouse dioramas just before the final credits roll. On top of that, Rudd’s girlfriend in the movie (Stephanie Szostak) is absolutely gorgeous. She’s nearly worth the price of admission herself.

Zach Galifianakis and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) also play minor roles and neither disappoints. Unfortunately, all the talent in the world couldn’t save this movie. My final grade? Two out of five stars. Save your money, folks.

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