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Tim Rudd is a rising executive who “succeeds” in finding the perfect guest, IRS employee Barry Carell, for his boss’ monthly event, a so-called “dinner for idiots,” which offers certain advantages to the exec who shows up with the biggest buffoon.
Steve Carell, whose gift for playing dumb yet remaining sympathetic is unparalleled, and the astoundingly likable Paul Rudd make an excellent comedy team in Dinner for Schmucks. Tim Rudd, I Love You, Man gets invited to take part in a game his boss plays every year: each of his executives has to bring a perfect idiot to dinner; the biggest loser wins an award and the executive who brought him gets a promotion. Tim's girlfriend thinks the idea is appalling, and Tim reluctantly agrees--until he literally runs into Barry Carell, an obtuse IRS agent who makes dioramas with stuffed dead mice. Barry is so perfect for the game that Tim can't resist inviting him to dinner--but by inviting Barry into his life, Tim loses control of everything he wants as Barry's bumbling attempts to help go hopelessly awry. Dinner for Schmucks has its share of broad slapstick, but what may surprise some viewers is the mix of verbal wit and elegant visual jokes some of Barry's dioramas are both funny and truly beautiful. The movie's farcical formula is familiar and threadbare, but Rudd and Carell give it genuine heart as well as humor and the supporting performances from Jemaine Clement Eagle vs. Shark, Zach Galifianakis The Hangover, and Kristin Schaal Flight of the Conchords are all deliriously funny. A loose but honorable remake of the French comedy The Dinner Game. --Bret Fetzer