Dinner for Schmucks
Starring: Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Zack Galifianakas, Jemaine Clement
Director: Jay Roach
Tim (Paul Rudd) is up for a promotion and gets invited to a dinner by his boss that requires him to find the biggest idiot possible and bring him along, enter IRS employee/ Taxidermist Barry (Steve Carrell)
On paper reuniting Rudd and Carrell together seems like a great idea, Rudd plays Tim the same character he has been playing in movies like “Role Models” and “I love you Man”, essentially the romantic leading straight man who learns about life and himself through his quirky costar. In this instance said costar is Steve Carrell who ‘s Barry can be described as having a personality somewhere between his “The Office” character Michael Scott and his “Anchorman” character “Brick Tamland”, essentially somewhere between bumbling idiot and complete dunce.
Schmucks falls short primarily due to the fact that for a movie called Dinner for Schmucks it is surprisingly lite in the aforementioned Dinner. Schmucks feels like the dinner was tacked on at the last minute. What we have is essentially a romantic comedy where Barry screws up Tims relationship with his girlfriend Darla (Stephanie Szostak) and leads Tim to believe that Darla might be having an affair with artist Kieran(Jemaine Clement) who possesses an animal magnetism that draws woman to him. In addition we encounter mind reading Therman (Zach Galifiankais) who has a penchant for turtle necked dickies and torturing Barry.
Sadly Tims relationship with Stephanie never really seems legit, It seems like more of a simple plot device to keep the story moving from one awkward scene to the next. The highlight of the film is Galifianakis as IRS Agent/ Mind Reader Therman if only he had more than 10 minutes of screen time; it might have made the film more enjoyable.
I was never sure if Barry suffered from some sort of mental disorder or if he was just an idiot, at times he seems normal and at other times completely inept. He is able to work for the IRS and create incredible dioramas featuring dead mice reenacting important times in history or his life, yet Barry will stand in a pond for no reason. Barry seemed underdeveloped as a character not knowing why he was the way he is. It would have been nice likewise if Rudd was able to bring more to his character than he has in the past few movies he has been a part of, it might have helped.
Schmucks is an uneven movie with some enjoyable moments and some laughs if more was focused on the dinner it might have been able to reach the next level. Unfortunately it’s a lost opportunity.