A) All about a dinner in which idiots are invited to dinner so that people may laugh at them
B) A comedy in the vein of Meet The Parents
C) A futuristic thriller about a family in the year 2050 who have hidden a special alien eye in the mountains of Stlumanthera in order to save the world.
Turns out Dinner For Schmucks is none of these. Oh sure, it could have been either a or b or if it were really good it could have been both, but it wasn't. I've been duped before on marketing as it relates to action and humor and performance, but not when it comes to plot. When I walked in to the theater last night, I thought I was going to see a movie about a dinner where a bunch of morons were going to try to out-idiot eachother. Instead I got treated to a real mess with a dinner during the last 20 minutes.
I should have known it was curtains when one of the first jokes of the movie is one I saw coming 10 miles away. Tim (Paul Rudd) and his colleagues watch an executive load up his car because he has been fired. Tim comments on how he would never want his job. How anyone would be crazy to want his job. Two seconds later, Tim is telling someone how he has to have that guy's job. As Fozzy The Bear would say to signify that there was a joke that was just told and you should laugh whether you thought it was funny or not "wakka, wakka, wakka." Aren't there rules somewhere that suggest if you're going to write a comedy, especially a comedy titled Dinner For Schmucks, that you might want to come out of the gate with a few good jokes?
I have not seen the original, so this commentary is not based on it being a lesser remake. It's just a commentary on how it's not a very good movie. And damn, it could have been. Great movies have been made about great dinner parties. This would have made a nice addition. Now I say all this, but truth be told there are a couple of nice parts. The stand-off between Barry (Steve Carrell) and Therman (Zach Snuffaluffagus) at the dinner is pretty damn funny. But the most interesting dynamic is between Barry and Darla (Lucy Punch) the stalker girlfriend. The sparring that happens between those two felt like old Clouseau and Cato from the Pink Panther movies.
Dinner for Schmucks seemed a natural fit for the current state of comedy. In a world where stupid comedy reigns, a movie that's literally about laughing at idiots should be be a feast. Unfortunately, it's just a promising appetizer for a dinner that never came.