I Saw A Film Today…Dinner For Schmucks

Steve Carell is hilarious. It is almost impossible to think of the American ‘The Office’ without picturing Michael Scott’s goofy, wide grin while saying “That’s what she said!” This is why it was such sad news to hear that Carell was leaving at the end of the seventh season of the popular NBC comedy. Will there be any way to replace him? Can the great series even go on without his presence? I believe so, with such talent as John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Rainn Wilson there should be enough gas in the tank to make it for a couple of season. But enough about ‘The Office’, let’s talk about Carell’s latest film, Dinner for Schmucks.


Tim Conrad (Paul Rudd) is a “sixth floor” executive at a company whose only dream is moving up to a corner office on the magical one floor up. After giving an impressive presentation, Tim is invited by his boss (Bruce Greenwood) to a special dinner. Colleagues then explain why the dinner is so special: Tim is required to bring someone along who has a strange quirk, i.e. an weirdo. Tim, blinded by ambition, does not see the unethical side of this and agrees to do it. When his girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) pleads with Tim not to go through with it, he just shrugs it off.

Dharma is a cruel mistress and she comes in the form of Barry Speck (Steve Carell), an ignorant, almost childlike man who fills much of his time making artwork with dead mice. Tim hits Barry with his Porsche and realizes that he is the perfect specimen for the dinner. But Tim also learns that Barry is a nuisance, which leads to a freaky female stalker finding out where Tim lives, almost blowing a big deal with an important Swiss couple, and possibly making Julie run into the arms of an eccentric artist (Jermaine Clement).

There is no doubt that Dinner For Schmucks is funny. Who would expect anything less from the guy who brought us Austin Powers and Meet the Parents? The anchor in the whole film is Steve Carell’s performance as Barry. Not to mention the strong performance of Paul Rudd and new comer Stephanie Szostak. And who could forget the cheeky appearance of Ron Livingston, the absurdness of Zach Galifanakis, and the always funny Jermaine Clement.

But these performance are not enough to save this movie. For one thing the plot line is just a weak set of events that are all meant to set up the big dinner at the end, which goes from comedy to almost Three Stooges slapstick. One of the other main issues with this film is that I did not really care what happened to Paul Rudd’s character even though I was supposed to. Why should I have any sympathy for someone with a beautiful girlfriend, great looking apartment, and who drives a Porsche Boxster? I would understand if it was an everyday man who is trying to catch a break but all this is a greedy guy who tries to get ahead by humiliating some poor guy.

Another thing that really disturbed me was how unethical it is. There is a scene at the end where Paul Rudd explains the whole premise of the dinner to Steve Carell’s Barry, basically telling him that he is an idiot, and then goes on to convince Barry has the power of “Brain control” so that he can win the trophy and get the promotion.  Is comedy now just gathering a group of people with deep seeded psychological disorders together and laughing at their unfortunate circumstances?

I understand that this film will be for some people and it will not be for others. I fall into the latter category. I just feel there are other better comedies out there right now to fill your time with other than Dinner for Schmucks.


*Special thanks to Josh M. and Becky H. for sharing this cinematic adventure with me.

What did you think of Dinner for Schmucks? Would you be a schmuck for seeing it or would you be a smart lad or lass? Leave your comments and opinions below.


One Response to “I Saw A Film Today…Dinner For Schmucks”

  1. Becky Says:

    I agree. Totally wasn’t worth it. 😦 It saddened me. But I enjoyed the time with you, Josh, and friends! haha

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