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Dinner For Schmucks
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Reviewed on 2010-07-30
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
Director Jay Roach (“Meet the Fockers,” “Meet the Parents” and the Austin Powers series) was named comedy director of the decade at the recent ShoWest Convention of film exhibitors. He knows how to make audiences laugh. This English language remake of the 1998 French farce “The Dinner Game” is the funniest movie of the year.

With a clever script with a dark sense of humor, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd (“The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”) continue on a box-office winning streak as their third time on screen together is truly a charm.

Tim Conrad (Shawnee Mission West graduate Rudd) is a financial analyst climbing up the corporate ladder at Fender Financial in Los Angeles. He has his eyes set on a promotion and a spacious corner office. He also thinks this step up will impress his girlfriend Julie (French beauty Stephanie Szostak) enough that she will finally say “yes” to his recurring marriage proposals. His boss, Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood), puts one condition on his advancement. He must attend a top secret dinner held at Fender’s mansion and bring an extraordinary guest that the company’s top executives can all ridicule.

Tim literally runs into his future dinner companion, IRS employee Barry Speck (Carell), with his Porsche. Although this is a strange way to meet, Barry explains that picking up the dead mouse in the street is part of his strange hobby.

Without giving anything away, examples of his dioramic taxidermy are shown over the opening credits and at the weird banquet. Barry delivers the movie’s most prophetic remark that “everything happens for a reason.”

Barry and Tim become the oddest couple since Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Barry is a tornado of destruction. He manages to mess up Tim’s relationship with Julie, get Tim’s apartment and car trashed, and puts the promotion at risk. The non-stop hilarity reaches a fever pitch during the culminating dinner.

The dining room table is filled with a bunch of foolish oddballs trying hard to win first prize.

Carell and Rudd have great chemistry together. Their easy rapport comes close to the dynamic antics of the incomparable Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Both show their proficiency for physical comedy. Carell adds a funny accent to a character he describes as a cross between Gandhi and one of the Three Stooges.

The dream supporting cast of inventive comedy minds that are all brilliant in the art of improvisation includes Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”), Lucy Punch (the upcoming Woody Allen-directed “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”) and Jemaine Clement (“The Flight of the Conchords”). Laughter has been shown to be the best medicine for the human heart. So do yourself and your health a big favor by seeing this laugh riot before the spoilers rush in and give away all the punch lines.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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