When I first heard the premise to this film I had the eerie feeling that I had heard it before. In fact, this film has been done before in the form of a French film called Le diner de cons (The Dinner Game) and another remake in India under the name Bheja Fry. Now the film comes to American with Steve Carell steering with his hilarious acting ability. We’ll see how this American remake stands up.
The basic idea behind the film is pretty simple. Paul Rudd plays an executive who has just been promoted to a prestigious position in his company. His boss invites him to a secret monthly dinner where each invited person is supposed to bring a guest who is the most ridiculous social outcast imaginable. Rudd initially refuses but changes his mind when he comes across a mouse taxidermy enthusiast played by Steve Carell. The rest of the film leads up to the dinner which is a mad mix of the hilarious interactions between the social outcasts.
How is it?
Zach Galifianakis, comedian noted most recently for his role in The Hangover steals away a few of the scenes with his hilarity. Those scenes are only a few minutes of the film, however, and the rest is completely taken by Steve Carell who does a great job making a script that is honestly as empty as can be into something that you can laugh at. In each scene, Carell seems to take over and just take us to that natural place where Carell movies tend to go. The film is certainly funny, but that’s as far as it can go.
The story is non-existent basically and what is left is nothing new. Most of the film is spent leading up to the dinner scene at the end which is the part that everyone in the theater really came to see. The movie is very light hearted considering its origins. The original French film had a lot more to say about people being unlikable–in this film everyone seems to win. Both Carell and Rudd maintain likability that makes for a lack of dilemma for the film, which is good if you’re just looking for a cheap laugh.
If it weren’t for Steve Carell and Zach Galifianakis, this film would feel like a huge waste of your time and money. With them, however, the film is a fun way to spend your evening if you’re in the mood for some laughs. Don’t expect anything deep or worth a second watching, though. This film is a one time go-through at best so enjoy it while it lasts.
Sources: http://www.movies.com/movie-reviews/dinner-for-schmucks-review/dave-white/m60092 ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dinner_Game