Dinner for Schmucks

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Dinner for Schmucks
Steve Carell grinning maniacally stares from over Paul Rudd's shoulder
Theatrical poster
Directed by Jay Roach
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • David Guion
  • Michael Handelman
Based on Le Dîner de Cons 
by Francis Veber
Starring
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Jim Deult
Edited by Alan Baumgarten
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 30, 2010 (2010-07-30)
Running time 114 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $69 million[2][3]
Box office $86,406,677[3]

Dinner for Schmucks (also known as Dinner with Schmucks) is a 2010 American screwball comedy film directed by Jay Roach. The film is the American adaptation of the 1998 French comedy Le Dîner de Cons and was written by David Guion and Michael Handelman. It stars Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, who had previously teamed up in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The film was released theatrically on July 30, 2010.

Zach Galifianakis won the Comedy Award for "Best Comedy Actor – Film" for his role as Therman Murch in the film.[4] The elaborate mouse dioramas and "mouseterpieces" were created by The Chiodo Brothers.[5]

Plot[edit]

Tim Conrad (Paul Rudd) is a mid-level financial executive, who comes up with a way (special novelty lamps) to invite wealthy Swiss businessman Martin Mueller (David Walliams) to become a client of his firm. Impressed by Tim's ingenuity, his boss Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) invites him to a "dinner for winners" in which he must find and bring an eccentric person with a special talent; the winner earns a trophy and the executive that brought him or her gets glory. He soon learns it is more of a "dinner for idiots", and the partygoers will be mocked mercilessly. Meanwhile, Tim's girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) lands a curator deal for eccentric artist Kieran Vollard (Jemaine Clement), and Tim unsuccessfully proposes to her, as he has done several times before. After learning of the cruel nature of the dinner party, Julie becomes upset and asks him not to attend and he agrees.

The next day, Tim accidentally hits IRS employee Barry Speck (Steve Carell) with his car when Barry tries to retrieve a dead mouse in the road. Witnessing Barry's bizarre behavior (he taxidermies mice and arranges them into elaborate dioramas), Tim realizes he is the perfect loser for the dinner. That night, Barry shows up at Tim's apartment unannounced and accidentally invites over Darla (Lucy Punch), who had a one-night stand with Tim years ago and has been stalking him. Barry decides to guard Tim's apartment from Darla to make up for inviting her. When Julie arrives at his apartment, Barry mistakes her for Darla and sends her away, giving Julie the mistaken impression that Tim is cheating on her. Barry decides to call Vollard and finds the number saved in the phone. While talking to him, he and Tim think they hear Julie in the background and head to Vollard's apartment. Barry tosses Tim's keys through Vollard's apartment window and must break in, only to find Kieran preparing to make love to two girls dressed like animals (neither of them are Julie) and head back home.

Afterwards, Barry opens the door to find Darla waiting outside. Julie calls and asks Tim if he's having an affair and Darla steals the phone and stuffs it down her pants. While Tim hides in his bedroom, Darla and Barry get into a bar-styled fight, scaring Darla away. Julie accidentally left her phone at Tim's apartment and a voice message from Vollard reveals to Tim and Barry that Julie is leaving for his ranch. Barry works for the IRS and offers to take Tim to work to find Vollard's ranch address, where they meet up with Barry's boss and rival, Therman Murch (Zach Galifianakis) (who stole Barry's wife), who displays his "mind control" power over Barry. Tim leaves the next day for his brunch with the Muellers but Barry crashes, with Darla pretending to be Julie, when he gets a call from Tim's assistant telling him to bring a still missing Julie. Tim is pushed into asking Darla to marry him by Barry and Julie walks in during. Tim and Barry chase Julie down to Vollard's ranch, where Tim accidentally offends Barry (which further hurts his and Julie's relationship).

To his surprise, Tim found Barry already at Fender's dinner party. Barry is a hit with the group and is a shoo-in for the trophy, but unexpectedly, Therman arrives, embarrassing Barry with his mind control. Tim then tells Barry everything and, after some encouragement, gets Barry to win with "brain control", before causing his boss and fellow executives to reveal the truth. A guest reacts badly to the news and inadvertently causes chaos in the process, with Mueller losing a finger. A fire breaks out, while a bird brought by one of the guests flies away with Mueller's finger. Tim is fired, as is Julie after Barry makes Vollard realize it would be a problem to have her continue working for him. In the end, Tim marries Julie, Barry enters into a relationship with Darla, does some artwork with Vollard, and hosts a monthly "breakfast for champions" for all of the losers. Therman writes a new book in the mental hospital and Tim gets a new museum started in Switzerland for Mueller. After the closing credits, it is revealed Fender's company has gone under and the Forbes magazine has named him "Wall Street's Biggest Loser."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The budget for the film was split between the distributor Paramount Pictures, as well as DreamWorks Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment. The production budget was $69 million, but with tax credits the cost came in at $62.7 million.[2]

Filming of the dinner scene took place at the same location as was used for Wayne Manor in the 1960s Batman television series.[6]

Dinner for Schmucks is the American adaptation of the French film Le Dîner de Cons (literally, "The Dinner of Idiots"). The film retains many familiar elements of the original, with the basic plot, including the involvement of the taxation authorities and the love triangle around the main character Tim. In the remake, however, Tim is made much more sympathetic (this is the first dinner he has participated in, and he is not in fact having an affair or deliberately cheating on his taxes), and the actual dinner is shown. Director Roach describes the film as "inspired by" the original rather than a remake.[7]

Title[edit]

Debate ensued[where?][when?] about the title's usage of the Yiddish word schmucks which literally means 'male genitals.' Debbie Schlussel asked whether the title should have been Dinner for Schlemiels as it would better describe the clumsy character played by Steve Carell.[8] Responding in The New York Times, critic Michael Cieply determined that the intent was to be ambiguous as to which of the two main characters, played by Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, was the intended idiot.[9] In The Forward, Laura Hodes suggested that 'schmucks' correctly referred instead to the behavior of the film's antagonists, the bosses of Rudd's character.[10] 'Schmucks' may be fitting after all because the original French play and movie, Le Dîner de cons, which was originally translated as The Dinner Game[11] when released in the USA, would more literally translate to "The Dinner of Cunts".[12]

Release[edit]

Dinner for Schmucks was pushed back a week to July 30, 2010, to avoid competition with Salt and Inception.[13][14]

Marketing[edit]

As part of promoting the film, the website Funny or Die featured videos of Jemaine Clement in character as Kieran Vollard.[15][16]

The film's first trailer debuted with Date Night, Death at a Funeral, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The second trailer was shown before select screenings of The A-Team, Get Him to the Greek, Grown Ups, and Inception.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The film has received mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives a normalized score of 43% based on 183 reviews, with an average score of 5.4/10.[17] The site's consensus is: "It doesn't honor its source material – or its immensely likable leads – as well as it should, but Dinner for Schmucks offers fitfully nourishing comedy."[17] Metacritic, which gives a weighted average score out of 100, gives the film a 56% based on 37 reviews.[18]

Box office[edit]

The film made $8.4 million on its first day, ranking number two at the box office, behind Inception. The film earned $23.5 million on its opening weekend, placing it second overall for the weekend of July 30 to August 1.[3] Dinner for Schmucks ultimately grossed $73 million in North America and $13.4 million internationally for a total of $86.4 million worldwide.

Home media[edit]

Dinner for Schmucks was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on January 4, 2011.

Accolades[edit]

"Dinner for Schmucks" was nominated for one award

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (July 25, 2010). "'Dinner for Schmucks': a long time between courses". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). p. 4. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Fritz, Ben (July 29, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Schmucks,' cats, dogs and Zac Efron will all open behind 'Inception'". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Dinner for Schmucks (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ The Comedy Awards
  5. ^ Lytal, Cristy (July 25, 2010). "Working Hollywood: Making mice for 'Dinner for Schmucks'". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Yvonne Villarreal (May 2, 2010). "Summer Sneaks: ‘Dinner for Schmucks’. Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, together again". Los Angeles Times. p. 2. 
  7. ^ O’Connell, Sean (July 26, 2010). "Interview: "Dinner for Schmucks" director Jay Roach on Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Sacha Baron Cohen". hollywoodnews.com. Retrieved August 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ Debbie Schlussel (April 7, 2010). ""Dinner For Schmucks": Hollywood Brings Us More Garbage for Summer Movie Season". Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  9. ^ Michael Cieply (May 4, 2010). "Much Movie Title Meshugas". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  10. ^ Laura Hodes (August 3, 2010). "Of 'Schmucks' and Schlemiels". The Forward. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Dinner Game". IMDB. Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Con trick". The Guardian (London). July 2, 1999. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Dinner for Schmucks Delayed – Runs from Salt, Inception". Screencrave.com. June 9, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ Variety magazine, June 9, 2010
  15. ^ "New Dinner for Schmucks Clip and Character Features". Screencrave.com. July 16, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Dinner_For_Schmucks on Funny or Die". Funnyordie.com. Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Dinner for Schmucks Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Dinner for Schmucks". Metacritic. CBS. 

External links[edit]