Dinner for Schmucks Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 3rd, 2010 at 5:05 am,

dinner for schmucks carrell rudd Dinner for Schmucks Review
Screen Rant’s Paul Young reviews Dinner for Schmucks

After watching Dinner for Schmucks I slowly trudged out of the theater feeling as if every last ounce of happy-go-lucky spirit had been drained from my body. Dinner for Schmucks is one of those films where the concept may have looked great on paper but ultimately the execution was lseverly lacking. While watching this, I realized that just about every side character in the film is funnier than Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd, who are both actors I normally enjoy watching.

The basic plot is about Tim (Paul Rudd) who tries to ingratiate himself with the uppity-ups at his company – but to really seal the deal and get the promotion he wants so badly, he must attend a dinner at his bosses house and bring an idiot with him – the more colorful the better. The problem is Tim sort of has a conscience in the form of his girlfriend, Julie (Stephanie Szostak) but his need to continue paying for his Porsche and upscale apartment far outweigh any reluctance he may have about a stranger’s feelings. Besides, he tells Julie, “Where would I find someone colorful enough to take to the party?”

dinner for schmucks the swiss Dinner for Schmucks Review

Lucy Davenport and David Walliams in a scene from 'Dinner for Schmucks'

Enter Barry (Steve Carrell) who has the unique talent of taxidermy and uses it to dress up dead mice in outfits and arrange them in scenes around his house. Some of the stuff he creates is ridiculously awesome and if it weren’t for the fact that all the models were made out of dead rodents, I would probably buy some of his art. After a chance encounter between Tim’s bumper and Barry’s body, Tim realizes what an “idiot” he has found and invites him to dinner. Barry immediately confuses the dates and shows up a day early and after a ridiculous series of events where he basically ruins Tim’s relationship, career, car apartment and life – Tim sees the error of his ways and the two become close friends.

Writers David Guion and Michael Handelman, as well as director Jay Roach, must have had a really rough life growing up because Dinner for Schmucks felt like it was written by a group of nerds who were mistreated in high school and now want to teach the “jocks” (or whoever their frustration is aimed at) a life lesson. But instead of a story where the bigshots get their comeuppance, it comes across like the writers spent almost two hours making fun of Barry and people like him, who march to the beat of a different drum. If anything, Barry and this merry band of social misfits should have been the highlight of the movie and not the butt of its lame, uninspired jokes.

dinner for schmucks the dinner guests Dinner for Schmucks Review

While they don’t come right out and say Barry is Autistic, certain key personality traits of his are just too similar to the disorder to be ignored. Barry has no sense of the social ramifications of his actions, he doesn’t pick up on others’ social cues nor does he feel any awkwardness when talking about issues that would clearly be awkward to discuss, (i.e. his boss stealing his wife, not being able to please his wife in bed, telling people he has a sexually transmitted disease).

There’s nothing wrong with Barry being Autistic but I don’t really find myself wanting to laugh at people with Autism. Carrell does his best to provide as many laughs as possible but after the first 30 minutes most of the jokes and sight gags fall flat while others made me cringe at their predictability.

Here is what was good about the film: Zach Galifianakis as the mind controlling boss, Jemaine Clement as the sexually narcissistic artist, Lucy Punch as the rabbit boiling stalker ex-one night stand girl, Jeff Dunham as the man married to a dummy on his arm, Octavia Spencer as the psychic who speaks to dead animals and Chris O’Dowd who literally steals every scene he is in as the blind swordsman who wants to compete in the Olympic Games.

dinner for schmucks odowd Dinner for Schmucks Review

Every single one of those characters are worth watching, it’s just too bad you have to sit through the rest of the film to see them. The film has a few belly laugh areas in it but honestly if it weren’t for the people I named above this movie would get even less than 1.5 stars.

This is a buddy movie where the “buddies” spend almost the entire film not being buddies and really no one cares if they ever become buddies.

The movie is called Dinner for Schmucks yet the only schmucks I see are the people who are fooled into actually paying to watch it in theaters.

Our Rating:

1.5 out of 5
(Poor, A Few Good Parts)

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  1. My 2 cents…
    I think many people here are feeling just like Julie from the movie. They feel is just mean to do what it was done on the movie, and the people they made fun of.

    But i went to this movie after just seeing the trailer once and just because i was invited. I have to admit that despite not having a very strong plot, i laughed my @$$ off. The whole crowd even laughed loud at many scenes. So in terms of being funny, we cant deny that it did deliver laughs whether we wanted it or not.

    Now, the plot was weak… it seemed like the movie opened strong with the work thing, and the dinner, and during the second act and Barry interacting derailed the movie into a whole new direction. It then went back to pace during the third act and got better. The movie had potential to be better.

    i give it is 3/5

  2. I’m very curious from the “review haters” what your reaction would have been if I had over-rated this film and given it 4 or 4.5 out of 5? Would you be quick to jump in and say “Hey retard! Were we watching the same movie? It was an OK comedy but no way was it worth 4 stars!” I’m some how thinking that wouldn’t be the case.

    What is really befuddling me is how so many people are defending, what is at best, a toss-away comedy. Obviously my opinion isn’t shared by many people in America since the film was #1 this weekend but I wonder how it will perform next weekend?

    • diner for schmuk is once again a very bad american remake from a french movie called DINER DE CONS, if you are fortunate enough to understand french watch the movie and see how the french are kicking our butt when it come to good movies

      • Fully agree: “Diner de cons”, the original French movie who inspired “Dinner for schmucks” is really better with deeper plot and smart character interactions and you will laugh from the beginning to the end…

  3. Paul Young

    OMG,Where the wild things are was horrible!!!! It was boring……i didnt even watch the whole thing,i was forcing my self to see it……but yeah if u had giving this a good review ppl who hated the film would complain,u cant please everyone.

    • My point exactly. I could have been safe and given it a 2.5 or 3 out of 5 but then what would be the point of me reviewing the film if I’m not going to give my honest feelings towards it? No one wants to read what a liar has to say.

      I stand by my opinion and will gladly discuss it with others that have a contrary view…as long as it stays civil. :)

  4. Paul Young

    Yeah,you have to give your honest opinion….thats what a good reviewer truly is:) Im glad u gave your honest opinion on this movie. I havent seen it and if i like it,ill just give my point of view and if i hate it,then u got a helper in your hands lol! But i wont see it till maybe a week or so…..

  5. Paul Young

    Oh and im not a shmuck for seeing this when i do cuz i work at the movies so i see it for free ha!!!

  6. I honestly didn’t think where the wild things are was very good.

    I understand they need to cut corners for kid films but at the end of the day it’s still a film. It should be judged as is and with out a handicap. Especially not adding on 2 full stars cause it’s for kids. There are good films that happen to be fir kids and still profit.

    Oh Dinner was number one this weekend by the way it was number two inception was number one again.

  7. Daniel F

    yeah wild things,was bad……VERY bad a film id give .5-1 star lol

  8. This was/is a movie for Schmucks! It was terrible and it’s also obvious Steve Carrell is only out for a paycheck these days and has compromised his comedic principles, if he ever had any. This movie shouldn’t even be classified as a comedy. It should get 0.1 out of 5.0 only because of the small bit Zach had in it.

    • i would love to see all you anti- comedy people make a comedy movie. i bet it wouldn’t be funny at all. if you’re not capable of laughter, then stop watching comedies! this movie was funny for people that actually enjoy funny movies.

      • So, if we don’t find this film funny, then we are “not capable of laughter”? There’s goes all your credibility.

        • “there’s goes all my credibility”… heh, good one

          • ok, so let’s hear of some movies you think are funny, i’m just curious… whoever wants to reply. i won’t start any dumb arguments or get suckered into any, i promise.

            • Here’s a list just off the top of my head and doesn’t encompass all the comedies I’ve seen. Some are mixed genre I know but I included them to show the diversity of comedy.

              Comedies I liked or were OK which meant I sat through them to the end and at least laughed once. Their’s no particular order it was just how I remembered them, one incited another. I thought I’d start with ones, first five, this film looks like in category to me.

              Ruthless People
              Throw Momma From The Train
              Eight Heads in a Duffel bag
              Trading Places
              Home Alone
              Man On The Moon
              Romancing The Stone
              Happy Gilmore
              Dumb & Dumber
              The Hangover
              The Man With Two Brains
              The Jerk
              Mel Brooks History of the World Part One
              Blazing Saddles
              Young Frankenstein
              All the original Pink Panther Films
              All Of Me
              Heaven Can Wait- both of them
              After Hours
              All the National Lampoon Vacation films
              A Fish Called Wanda
              Airplane II
              Baby Boom
              Back To School
              Back to the future-all of them
              Blind Date
              Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
              Real Genius
              Stranger With A Gun
              The Sure Thing
              The gods must Be Crazy
              The Man in the White Suit
              The Flim-Flam Man
              Toy Story
              Hello Down There
              I’m Gonna Git You Sucka
              Let’s do it again
              Nothing But Trouble
              On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
              Dr. Dolittle- old and new ones
              It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, World- yeah I shortened it
              What’s up Doc
              Monty Python and the holy grail
              Hollywood Homicide
              Lethal Weapon- all of them
              Police Squad movies- “Naked Gun” all of them
              Spy Hard
              The man with one red shoe
              Ghostbusters- both
              Willy Wonka- both versions
              Woody Allen- most of his stuff

              Comedies I didn’t sit through, demanded and got my money back!

              Three Amigo’s

              Comedies I knew weren’t worth seeing for me

              the new- Pink Panther films

              In all Genre’s including TV I’ve seen a thousand films easy. Seen at least a dozen very good plays, like “Phantom Of The Opera” live in New York and “Blue Jacket” in Ohio. I’ve read at least a dozen books on film and hundreds of other books. Many Science Fiction and fantasy. I keep both volumes of “Norton’s Anthology of English Literature by my bed. Ever read Pope Alexander’s Essay on criticism?
              “Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill
              Appear in writing or in judging ill;
              But of the two less dangerous is the offense
              To tire our patience than mislead our sense”…

              • This movie was awful… I enjoy comedies, especially ones that include the likes of Will Ferrall or Steve Carell, but litterally none of the part of this movieI saw was entertaining. I regret not staying for the actual dinner, but when Steve Carell brought the stalker to the lunch, my group and I could not stand it any longer. I could understand some of steve’s good mannered mistakes, but I doubt any person, even a shumck, would be able to do something like that with pure intentions. More of this movie should have been alloted for the viewers to sympathizes with Carell, not further cement his shumck status. If you want to see a good comedy go see the Other Guys, that was comedy gold.

      • I hate these kind of comments, If I say a comedy sucks, its irrevelant whether i can make a better one.your paying to laugh. This movie is a 90 min turd. I had more laughs watching an old spice commercial

        • Well, at least those make a sincere effort to entertain…and SUCCEED!

  9. Uh…..dumb and Dumber,little nicky,Austin powers,yes man,40 year old virgen,Nutty proggesor,Friday,The mask,Bruce almighty,Norbit,Meet the parents/Fockers,paul blart,Ace ventura,Rush hour123,Shrek,nacho libre,Napolian Dynamite,Madagascar12,and shark tale are funny movies…..

    • agreed!

  10. Superbad, Pinapple Express, Nothing to lose, National Security, Death to Smoochy, Grosse Point Blank, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Hangover, I Love You Man, Forgetting Sara Marshal, Hear No Evil See No Evil, Liar Liar, Robin Hood Men In Tights, Anything Mel Brooks actually,

    just a few off the top of my head.

  11. Oh yes Definitely HANGOVER!!!! Oh and super bad too only i cant see that movie with my family i gotta see it alone lol!!!

    • wow, okay then. must say i’m surprised given the lists here that you guys didn’t like this movie so much, but good response!

  12. this was truely hands down top five worst movies of all time…everything about it was horrible. I am so pissed i wasted my time seeing that god awful piece of crap….steve carrell you need punched in the face for being in this and tricking me into seeing it you little turd. Horrible! and im not usually a hater this movie was just THAT pathetic. Please do not see it, i dont want it to make any money. Everyone involved with the making of this movie needs to be stoned to death or tortured in some barbaric way

  13. @Kevin
    I’m sure the people behind this film feel exactly the same about you. You didn’t like it good for you. Plenty of people did. Your more than welcome to express your dislike but grow up. Calling for the death of people involved is childish and idiotic. If you don’t like don’t buy the DVD. Your dumb comments will only make people who liked it watch it again just to spite you.

    Oh by the way the films already made money pretty decent cash as well so your screwed.

  14. @ daniel f…..man i dont like hating on movies but that movie was HORRIBLE!!!! it made money because they put stars in it and people thought “oh well if steve carrell, paul rudd, and fat jesus from the hangover are in it i might like it because i have liked their previous work “. No dude. pure garbage. I’m trying to warn the 95 % of america that will be angry they paid money to see this movie because i was appalled that someone actually paid money to put THIS script into production…it was just so stupid the whole plot. LOL and look at you rushing to its defense? Im childish and idiotic and your the one STICKING UP FOR Dinner for Smucks?…thats so ironic! Tell me man just how low brow do you like your comedy? Are the three stooges funny to you? i mean i like dumb and dumber and billy madison and naked gun but this was not like those movies! This movie wasnt silly it was stupid. zero likeable characters no funny one liners nothing! Just steve carroll acting annoying and paul rudd playing his niche roll as a wuss (to use a nice word) but with no other chacters to argue with and let him use his sarcasim. What did you like about it?

  15. Dumb and dumber will forever be the best comedy……nuff said.

    • super troopers

  16. So you think it’s childish and idiotic to like a movie that you didn’t but calling for the deaths of people who made a film you didn’t like is ok?

    I didn’t call you childish and idiotic I said you were acting that way and your comment was that. Believe me the things are no where near the same.

    95% ? my experience so far is more people in the general audience liked the fil than didn’t. Just so you know.

    I don’t like most low brow films actually but this one was fairly funny I like you acting like your snobby and can’t handle low brow but list some of the most low brow crap I’ve ever seen. Let me guess your a big Will Ferral fan? Rofl.

  17. I for one appreciate the reviews here on SR and have saved me alot of $$$. The trailer looked funny, but I am not a Carell fan so Paul’s review is good enough for me to stay away. ( as others I have read) This has been such a sad year for film and I would love to see a good comedy. Alas there is not much out there that interests me. Low brow films like Pineapple Express, Observe and Report, Superbad are just that IMO. Superbad and seem like the norm nowdays. Mel Brooks…I am sorry you cannot live forever. The Hangover was the last film I laughed out loud in a theatre.

  18. Taco it’s all well and go to go around acting like a snob and calling everything we don’t like Snobby. However you can’t call films like Superbad low brow say all low brow films suck and praise Mel Brooks all in the same comment. Don’t get me wrong I love Mel Brooks guy was comic gold but he was also very very low brow. We are talking about a guy who made gay jokes and potty humor all the time. Blazzing saddels dedicated a 5 min scene to nothing but guys sitting around a camp fire busting gas.

    Usually I hate people saying if you don’t like this you have no sense of humor but if your bashing films like Superbad and Pinapple express I suspect you really don’t.

    • first off i understand you thought that way about my comment and not me because what else could you possibly know about me? im a brand new poster and have never talked to you before. however saying my comments are a certain way is a reflection of saying im a certain way. dont try to back off. Second dude the general audience likes this movie???? That might be your view, the whole theate i was at hated it and mocked it. EVERY review is bad…this guy gave it 1 star….i bet after this week box office sales nose dive…and brother give the stoning thing a rest. like i was actually serious? Really? im so sorry i offended you batman…..i was kidding duh. I tried to vent my frustration on one piece of crap film but the funny police had to pull me over…im not a snob ive said twice that its not a personal hobby of mine bashing films that was the first comment i ever left on this website. Saying low brow was a bad choice of words. I for one love low brow movies- pineapple express superbad all those movies because im not offended easily and certain types of personalities like that kind of offensive humor. Is it refined? no but offensive humor can still be clever at times. Other low brow movies like blazing saddles or naked gun do it out of silliness…this movie was not trying to be goofy or silly this movie was trying to be funny and touching. BIG DIFFERENCE. And it failed it was just weird and dumb. This wasnt really low brow or toilet humor, this was just a weird awkward movie with strange characters…Taco if you think talking to your local homeless man on the bus or autistic people are funny you will like this movie.

      • Thanks Kevin…..I do not think that is funny, so will not see this to be sure.

  19. @ danielf My God! What in the Hell is wrong with you, how in the Hell did I come off like a snob??!!! All I did was THANK SR and Paul for doing a good job. Excuse me for not clarifying a Mel Brooks comment. I never metioned BS. I should of used Brooks re-make of “To be or not to Be” as an example of his work. The Producers or High Anxiety. Remember Brooks won an Oscar, Emmy a Grammy and a Tony! Jerry Lewis films were funny. Why? He wrote them, directed and produced them. Why do some people love British humor? Others have much distain for it, or don’t understand it being the norm. Do I enjoy toliet,or stoner humor? NO! Do I think Seth Rogen is a comic genius? I think he is a bore and lacking talent. BUT IT JUST MY IDEA of what is funny and not. Why must you attack me??!! Was Will Ferell funny on the small screen? Hell yes, but he does not translate to the big screen. Hell no! You see, it is just MHO! Nobody has to agree with me, I was just posting an observation. No need to get into a bloody pissing contest. That is just plain Bullox.

    Please remember HATE is such a strong and terrible word.

    Did I say I HATED Superbad or P. Express? No, I just did not think the films were funny. Or the “talent” was not my style and the acting weak at best. But again, it was just IMHO.

  20. wow, i’m not a big film critic, and 2 things i’ve learned from posting on this site are:
    1.) you guys need to chill out, get some fresh air.
    2.) you pretty much need to just go see a movie and decide for yourself whether you like it or not, because the critics writing the reviews may be the complete opposite of you.

    • Mike I’m glad you are taking the time to read and comment on our site and I hope you continue to do so. With that being said…

      Dude you are all over the map with these comments. You started off bashing me for not being able to enjoy comedy and now you are telling all the other commenters to lighten up? If you’ve changed your mind and view point on reviewerss in general that’s awesome if not, where exactly are you going with this line of thought? You have me befuddled \:}

      • i’m sticking with #2 on my last post, and i should’ve included myself in # 1, if that makes sense. review/criticize films, not people kind of thing, dig?

  21. Mike LOL after you see a few hundred of anything you start to get a feel for it even if you don’t have any parameters in mind to measure it against. So “Schmucks” is this comedy that “watching it in the moment” you judge to be good entertainment. Would that sum up your evaluation? Would that sum up any others experience who’ve seen the movie and liked it?

    • i suppose that would sum it up, yeah. but i think i’ll still like it after i see it again. i’ve found my first impression of movies usually sticks(with me).

      • oh, i just thought of an exception- boondock saints 2 was so bad that it actually spoiled BD1 for me when i watched it again…

  22. @the old man the best way I can sum it up for you on how it was for me. It was funny. It wasn’t amazingly original. It wasn’t a work of art and it’s no where near the greatest comedy you will ever see but it’s funny. Comedy is the only genre of film that I lower my standards for because the purpose of comedy is not to make you cry or think never has been never will be comedy is made for one reason to make you laugh. I judge a comedy based on if it made me life. I great comedy will be witty full of laughs and smart but an enjoyable comedy will make you laugh an above average amount with out doing much more. If your looking for a fun time out and a good laugh I say go watch it. If your looking for witty or smart skip it. It’s not a top notch comedy and it’s low brow ( Ive seen far lower do very well will ferral movies make this look smart) not scarry movie, Will Ferral or Mcgrubar low brow but it is low brow, but it’s also funny.

    I would give it somewhere between a 2.5 and 3 out of 5. Like I said it’s nothing impressive but a good laugh I’d recommend seeing it before 6 save a little bit of cash.

  23. This move is terrible! I don’t know how so many funny people, guy from little britain, guy from IT Crowd, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Zack g could make such a unfunny movie.

    I never laughed once. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT pay to see this movie..

    • i watched this movie in a theater full of laughing people. what movies do you think are funny? just curious, in a non-confrontational way.

      • those people are retards… that movie was crap! i totally agree with you anon

  24. I was disappointed. Barry is the most unbelievable character I’ve seen. I didn’t think of him being Autistic (thanks Paul) but that is exactly it. I couldn’t believe that anybody is that obtuse about their surroundings and situations.

    I wanted to like it but during the movie I remember thinking, “I’m wasting my time. I could be home watching Shark Week.” The only good thing was that I didn’t pay to see it.

  25. Anon
    Wow i didnt know u could say the F word here lol!

    • There was no F word. You never saw it. Move along, citizen.

  26. Kofi
    LMFAO!!!!!!! OMG im laughing so hard. Allright ok i didnt see anything hush hush^^

  27. The above picture with Lucy Davenport and David Williams: does anybody else think they look like they live on Dune?

  28. This review was right on point… I usually LOVE Steve Carrell but this movie bites…