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Dinner For Schmucks

Out to Lunch

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Hey look itís Paul Rudd playing the straight guy in a comedy! That may be enough to get your attention, but heís definitely been hit or miss. Always surrounded by genuinely talented comedians as he plays the strong anchor, there are always funny moments despite the overall film.

Role Models was a fantastic comedy while I Love You, Man was a mildly good with a great cast. Unfortunately, Dinner for Schmucks is pretty much dead on arrival. Rudd and Steve Carell bring some humor but itís not enough.

This isnít really a film thatís made for the plot. Itís one thatís made to showcase Rudd and Carell being hilarious. On that end, itís amusing. But in every other aspect itís a complete failure.

The basic premise is this: Tim (Rudd) is trying to get ahead at his financial firm and get his foot in the door with his boss. His boss invites him to a dinner where they bring ďinterestingĒ people (meaning idiots), laugh at them all night and then crown the biggest doofus. When Tim tells his girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak), she balks at its ridiculousness and tells him to not go.

As heís deciding what to do, he runs into Barry (Steve Carell) the perfect candidate. So perfect, in fact, that he unknowingly starts destroying Timís life. As Tim attempts to pull his professional life together, he must also save his relationship with Julie. Sound familiar?

Carell as Barry is the main draw for this film. Any Michael Scott fan knows how frustratingly idiotic he can be, yet Barry is light years behind anyone in The Office. Many scenes go beyond frustratingly funny and are just frustrating. Michael Scott is believably aloof. Barry is just unrealistic. There are highlights to Carellís performance, however, and the film is populated with a few great side characters.

Jemaine Clementís Kieran is a completely over the top artist whoís paintings are just large self-portraits. Heís the clichť artist obsessed with nature and existentialism, but Clement inserts some amusing moments. Zach Galifianakis is another big player that pops up as Barryís boss and nemesis, Therman, who believes he can read minds. Well, only Barryís really.

Unfortunately, these are just moments of whatís supposed to be a full film. It feels like a bunch of Saturday Night Live skits pushed together with Rudd as the center. Sure, youíll probably laugh a few times but there are better, funnier films with all the same characters.