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The Blue & Gray Press | December 16, 2017

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‘Dinner For Schmucks’ Tastes Pretty Good, if a Little Undercooked

You are cordially invited this Friday to enjoy one of the more appetizing comedies released this summer. “Dinner for Schmucks” is not as funny as this summer’s “Get Him to the Greek,” and by no means a smart comedy.

However, Steve Carell’s silliness mixed with Zach Galifianakis’ craziness with a hint of Paul Rudd’s disingenuousness will make for an enjoyable evening dish. Will you accept? It’s only a dollar, and what’s better than a cheap date?

So what is a “Dinner for Schmucks?” Essentially, a group of business people go out into society in order to find the most “eccentric” person with a special talent. The winner, the most talented individual, wins a trophy, while the one who brings the most talented individual wins the around-the-office glory. Steve Carell plays Barry Speck, a delightful idiot who ruins the life of everyone around him. Paul Rudd plays Tim Conrad, a financial executive who finds Barry only after he wrecks into Tim’s car. Zach Galifianakis plays Thurman Murch, Barry’s psychic arch nemesis and boss.

In an age of predictable comedies, “Dinner for Schmucks” offers a refreshingly original plot. Although it’s an American version of the French film “Le Dîner de cons,” (or “The Dinner Game”) “Dinner for Schmucks” shares only the premise with its French counterpart.

There are no surprises, but that’s ok as long as the laughs keep coming (which they do). There are no heavy conflicts and no overarching love interests––simply an all-around good time poking fun at people for either being really weird or really pretentious. The plot is so straightforward that you get to focus whole-heartedly on the ridiculousness of the motley crew of characters.

The lack of seriousness is also a major downfall to “Dinner for Schmucks.” The movie could have been a smart critique of social pretension had the movie taken seriously the plight of the “eccentric” people. However, perhaps as a sign of our times, the movie is entirely concerned with sensationalizing how funny Carell and Galifianakis can be when they act over the top.

But it is exactly what you might expect of Steve Carell. Therefore, whether you enjoy “Dinner for Schmucks” depends almost entirely on whether or not you think Steve Carell is funny.

“Dinner for Schmucks” isn’t non-stop laughs and gets a little slow at times, but there are enough funny moments that it makes the entire evening worth the wait. If you’re free on Friday night – let’s say around 7 p.m. – then let’s make it a date.