Dinner for Schmucks

Who'll have the last laugh?
Steve Carell, Zach Galifianakis and Jermaine Clement
Directed by Jay Roach

It is so bad that I wish there were a bunch of other movies featuring dead mice in dioramas, just so I could say, “This is the stupidest movie with dead mice in dioramas that I’ve ever seen. “

Paul Rudd is a financial analyst aiming for a promotion. To land the job, he must impress his boss at a dinner attended by the company executives. At this dinner, each person invites the strangest person that they can find, so the group can make fun of them. Mind reader. Animal psychic. Blind swordsman. It is a little like The Gong Show.

Rudd runs into Steve Carell with a car, because in movies that is the only way people meet these days. Anyway, Carell collects dead mice, dyes their hair, makes little mice clothes, and inserts them into re-enactments of famous paintings. Rudd sees him as the ticket to the big time. But he doesn’t count on Carell destroying his relationships in the process.

The “annoying buddy ruins my life” genre has been done a million times. In about 999,999 of those times, it’s been done better. Rudd does his comic everyman routine to no discernible end. Carell places an unusual and unwise amount of faith in the comic potential of dumb windbreakers and overbites. He appears to be under the impression that he is in a Jerry Lewis movie. Perhaps the French will dig it.

At one point, the movie’s phony artist (Jermaine Clement) observes that a goat will eat anything. That is a telling moment, because “Dinner for Schmucks” seems to be a Hollywood test just to see how low they can go and still get you to eat. If you choose to go to this particular dinner party, then the laugh is probably on you.