When I heard that this movie was based on an older French movie, Le Diner de Cons, I did what anybody else would do- watch the original movie first. So when I was watching the Dinner for Schmucks, I had Le Diner de Cons fresh in my mind and knew what to expect. Firstly, I would like to say that it is not a complete remake of the French movie. Dinner for Schmucks uses the same premise of the original movie and takes it even further.
The movie is about Tim (played by Paul Rudd), an executive who is climbing his way up the corporate ladder. He receives an invitation to a dinner party from his boss that he can’t refuse. At this dinner party, the attendees are required to bring an “idiot” with them to dinner. The person with the biggest “idiot” wins an award and bragging rights in the company. Enter Barry (played by Steve Carell)- a talented but socially inept mouse taxidermist, who takes artistic photographs using dead mice. Tim meets Barry by chance and invites him to be his idiot guest at the dinner party. The hilarity ensues when Barry turns up a day earlier than expected.
Dinner for Schmucks improves upon the original by the inclusion of wittier dialogue- maybe jokes were lost in translation when I watched the French movie, but Dinner for Schmucks had a lot more laugh out loud moments for me. Some parts seemed a little bit forced though- like how Tim injures his back, and Barry pretending to be a movie director on the phone. They could have easily gotten away by using gags from the original movie, but I guess the writers wanted to be a little more clever. The original French movie was set in just one location, the protagonist’s house. Dinner for Schmucks has the cast going all over the place, and even has the dinner party scene which wasn’t in Le Diner de Cons. I thought this was a plus because I curious to what an “idiot dinner” would be like after watching the movie. The blind fencer towards the end might be a little too over-the-top for some people, but drew out the loudest laugh from me in the cinema.
Paul Rudd plays a pretty standard character here, I hope he hasn’t been typecasted as the guy who’s trying to do his job and please his fiancee at the same time. Steve Carell really shines in this movie. Normally I’m not too tickled by his comedies, but here he does the job of playing the idiot well. Barry seems to be a bit cleverer than the idiot in the French movie, but he’ll still have you in stitches.
I didn’t find many problems in the movie besides the couple of forced gags that didn’t really hit the mark. Watch it if you’re- up for a comedy in similar vein of Meet the Parents, a fan of Rudd or Carell, just up for an hour of laughter. Dinner for Schmucks- 6/10.