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Schmuck's Alive!

Piya Sinha-Roy |
July 29, 2010 | 7:39 p.m. PDT

Entertainment Editor

 Merie Weismiller Wallace)
Merie Weismiller Wallace)
"Dinner for Schmucks"

(USA, 2010)


Steve Carell returns in yet another comedy, and his ability to transform and inhabit any role is impressive to say the least. "Dinner for Schmucks" is an elaborate tale that starts with Paul Rudd’s character Tim striving to move up the ladder at work, and after managing to impress his bosses, he is invited to an interesting dinner on the condition that he fulfils one requirement – bringing an idiot of unequal measure as his guest. After managing to hit Barry (Carell), a tax-man with a penchant for mouse taxidermy with his Porsche, his life seems to take a complete 180, with Barry now believing him to be his best friend and creating a hurricane of chaos. 

Carell plays the role of Barry with a very careful mix of innocence and humor, so that although Barry can be pitied, he isn't a tragic character. As with most films with Paul Rudd, he plays the same character, presumably Paul Rudd. However, while he may not deliver anything spectacular, it is the cast that surrounds him who make the film absolutely hilarious. Zach Galifianakis floored the audience with his incredible “ability” to mind-read and some of the best moments in the film are his interactions with Carell. The brilliant Jermaine Clement (HBO’s "Flight of the Conchords") plays an artist with raw animal magnetism and quite literally, he is surrounded by wildlife. His ability to play the absurd with a subtle seriousness is captivating to watch, and his fellow "Conchords" castmate Kristen Schaal also delivers quite a few one-liners. But it is the British cast that adds the much needed pizzazz to make this film really extraordinary. David Walliams (BBC’s "Little Britain") and Lucy Davenport play an eerie and eccentric Swiss couple, whilst Lucy Punch ("St Trinians") plays the rather insane Darla pursuing Tim and Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) adds to the extraordinary ‘schmucks’ by playing a blind fencer (cue the chaos).

For those of you concerned that this is yet another Frat Pack movie, worry not – "Dinner for Schmucks" will have you cringing, wincing and crying with laughter. The screenplay originates from a French black comedy film called “Le Dîner de Cons”, and with director Jay Roach (“Meet The Parents”, “Meet The Fockers”) and executive producer Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) helming the production, the film stays on the right side of absurd comedy without resorting to toilet humor. 


Verdict: Perfect for a comedy night at the movies – especially to see Zach Galifianakis’ incredible ability to flush bright red on command.

Rating: 4.5/5


"Dinner for Schmucks" will be in theaters from July 30. To see the trailer, click here.


Reach Entertainment Editor Piya Sinha-Roy here.



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