DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS
Undermined by Too Much Crudity
Release Date: July 30, 2010
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 113 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: Jay Roach
Executive Producer: Jon Poll and Amy Sayres
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO, Viacom
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO
John Lesher, President, Paramount Film Group
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
Tim, played by Paul Rudd, seems like he has it all – a great job, a gorgeous apartment, a new car, and a beautiful girlfriend who he’s trying to convince to become his fiancé. When a promotion at work presents itself, Tim jumps at the opportunity to move up the corporate ladder. However, before he can secure his promotion, he must have dinner with the company partners. There is just one catch. This is no ordinary dinner. This is a dinner where all of the partners invite social oddballs – people with gifts and talents that average adults would consider idiotic – in order to determine which of their unwitting guests is the biggest idiot. If Tim can bring the biggest idiot to the dinner, he almost certainly can secure himself a partnership position.
One day Tim meets Barry, played by Steve Carell. Barry is a lonely IRS employee who has a taxidermy hobby where he recreates great works of art with dead mice. Barry calls them “mouse-terpieces.” Tim thinks he has definitely found his idiot.
Tim invites Barry to dinner with his bosses. Over the next several days and through a series of odd circumstances, however, Tim starts to see past Barry’s oddities and find the broken, lonely man inside. Soon, Tim and Barry become friends, and Tim must decide between his job as a financial partner and his newfound friend, Barry.
DINNER WITH SCHMUCKS is funny with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Steve Carell has an unmistakable charm that makes his character not only laughable but also likeable. Sure, the movie is simplistic. The story is certainly not award-worthy, and it relies on cliché jokes that are, at times, eye-roll inducing. Also, the movie falls into the trap of most modern comedies by relying too heavily on sexual content and crude humor.
Sadly, the crude jokes and the deviant – and quite unnecessary – sexual content is where he movie fails to get laughs and instead induces cringing. The concept is funny enough without the vile sexual content, and the filmmakers would have been well advised to edit those crude elements out of their movie.
Even though the movie has a very light moral message of choosing to love people even with their flaws and oddities, the morality is lost among the mostly pagan worldview, which also has contains elements of Romanticism and evolution. There is also some foul language as well as mostly comedic violence.
All in all, DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS has many funny moments, but it has excessively vile content. Media-wise viewers may be well served to make a different, more moral choice, in their comedy. There are many uplifting comedies that do not rely on cheap, sexual shticks to achieve laughs, and MOVIEGUIDE® is here to help viewers find the most uplifting entertainment available.
DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS has many laugh-out-loud moments. Regrettably, however, it includes too many crude, lewd jokes, sexual excess, body paint nudity, violence, and some foul language. Needless to say, the crude jokes aren’t very funny either. The movie’s basic concept is funny enough without this vile comedy. Worse, the movie’s moral messages get lost within the lewdness.