Dinner for Schmucks

Tim (Paul Rudd) is an executive for a financial portfolio management company full of ideas, aspiring to move up in the world. When an opportunity to land a very lucrative and important client winds up in his lap, Tim appears to be the perfect candidate to manage the account. But, before Tim is given the opportunity, he needs to impress his boss in a bizarre and cruel ritual dinner in which all the executives for the company are asked to bring an “idiot” as a guest. The person who brings the biggest idiot is the winner and wins the affection of the boss. Enter Barry (Steve Carell), an IRS agent with an affinity for taxidermy of mice. When Tim meets Barry it appears he’s found his guest for the dinner, but, not if Tim’s girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) has anything to say about it. Stress between Tim and Julie rockets as Barry steps between the two, before long a series of misunderstandings builds to a peak in this comedy of errors. Predictable from the start there isn’t exactly suspense in this one; and, while there is some merit to the comedy here, situational and absurdist humor, I can’t exactly say the writing felt like true comedy gold for any of the players. Perhaps the fairly wicked spirited humor lent to part of this, but then again maybe it was just that the whole thing felt a little too drawn out and labored in general. Whatever the cause, I don’t think we’ll see this as a box office crusher this weekend despite the potential this film could have had. Maybe a matinee, but really more of a rental later. Dinner for Schmucks is rated PG-13.