Friday, March 31, 2023


July 30, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

The worst thing about Dinner for Schmucks may be its title. Based on a French movie that was released internationally as The Dinner Game, the film is receiving some very decent reviews. A.O. Scott in the New York Times calls it: “an exemplary modern Hollywood comedy. It treads a careful boundary between nasty and sweet, balancing the rude humor of humiliation with an affirming, tolerant, almost scolding final message: Be nice! It dabbles in sexual naughtiness without dreaming of going too far into complicated zones of lust and betrayal. … And, most of all, the film collects a cast of performers who know how to be funny.” Funny is the operative word here — as Mick LaSalle points out in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Dinner for Schmucks is lumbering, inconsistent and about 20 minutes too long, but it’s funny. It’s funny from the beginning, and it stays funny, even as it beats scenes to death and overstays its welcome. Funny in a comedy is like a loving nature in a parent: Without it, there’s nothing. With it, much can be forgiven. So to see Dinner for Schmucks is to forgive it, then enjoy it.” On the other hand, it’s clear that Kenneth Turan, the Los Angeles Times critic, didn’t enjoy it. He begins his review by writing: “What do you get when you combine a swell French comedy concept, a top American comedy director and two of the best comedy actors around? Against all reason and expectation, the result is a distinctly unfunny film. That would be Dinner for Schmucks starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd and directed by Jay Roach. The film’s noticeable lack of laughs is as baffling as its choice of a once-taboo Yiddish word for its title.”

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