MOVIE REVIEW: Dinner for Schmucks

Because of the kind of work that I do, I think I’m pretty sensitive.  I emote a lot at all kinds of movies and entertainment.  Its not hard to “move me.”  So, I figured there’d be some schlockily sweet resolution to this movie which I would be touched by.  And I was – but minimally.

I love Steve Carrell.  I’ve seen a common thread in interviews with and about him where people say that he is great because he doesn’t care so much about the comedy as he does the character.  He commits so deeply to his characters that the comedy comes out quite naturally.  He’s good.  But this movie isn’t.

I was bored through most of it.  I got about 5 good solid laughs from things that happened.  In a comedy with someone like Steve Carell and Zach Galifianakis, you’d expect the JPM (joke per minute) ratio to be higher than it is here.  Instead, there is too much setup and not enough payoff.

Paul Rudd plays Paul Rudd, as always, and is the best straight man in movies today.  His quiet seething and disbelieving anger resonates honestly every time.  He is better when he’s allowed to be more sarcastic like in “Role Models,” but he didn’t do anything wrong here.  Nor did any of the actors.  I blame the direction.

Jay Roach has done some fine work; The Austin Powers franchise worked because it channeled Mike Meyers over the top character genius.  Meet the Parents worked because he got out of the way of Deniro and let he and Ben Stiller do their thing.  Why he didn’t just turn the camera on here and let Carrell play and catch Rudd’s deadpan reactions to the silliness more is a mystery.  There was potential here and it just fell flat.  I’m disappointed.

I should have seen “The Other Guys” instead.  At least I hope its better as its next on my list.


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