When you first hear the premise for “Dinner for Schmucks” (a remake of the French comedy “Le dîner de cons”), where a group of business executives have a contest to see who can find the biggest moron to bring to dinner, your initial reaction is to think how awful and degrading that is. Then you hear that it’s starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, and everything’s cool again.
Rudd is Tim, a man trying to work his way to the top who is sure a promotion is coming his way. And it is, providing he can find some hapless tool to entertain his colleagues. Once a month his boss hosts a dinner party where each guest is to bring some random idiot for mocking, and if Tim can bring the best idiot, he’ll get his promotion.
Tim’s girlfriend is rightfully horrified by the notion, which gives him pause, but then he meets Barry (played by Carell) — a socially awkward, accident-prone dolt who makes taxidermied mice dioramas for fun — and the opportunity is just too good to pass up. Cue the hijinks.
The pairing of Carell and Rudd has struck comedy gold before (in “Anchorman” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin”), and “Dinner for Schmucks” is ripe with potential, though the trailer is a bit lacking. Rather than seeming like an idiot, Barry seems more klutzy and clueless, but overall a well-meaning guy (not unlike Carell’s most famous character, Michael Scott). It would be more appropriate (and hilarious) to see him channeling his “Anchorman” character, Brick Tamland, who was about as stupid as a person can get without being diagnosed with something. But maybe the trailer isn’t showing all of the movie’s best moments, so it will actually be a delightful surprise when first viewed. Some trailers still do that, right?
Also starring Ron Livingston, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Schaal and Bruce Greenwood, “Dinner for Schmucks” loves lamp on July 23.
On a related note, the newest project on Steve Carell’s IMDb page is “Untitled Marital Crisis Comedy.” I kind of hope they never give it a real title and just call it that, since it tells you everything you need to know.
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