Dinner for Schmucks: Another Foreign Remake

Dinner for Schmucks: Another Foreign Remake

While it’s insanely bizarre to have watched Steve Carell go from Daily Show correspondent to television star to feature film commodity, he has been able to distil a very specific kind of character and fit that guy into any number of roles. The thing is, while the character’s Carell portrays are endlessly creepy, each is equally endearing and sweet, probably accounting for the frequency with which he’s cast in work.

Regardless of the guy’s career and the fact that he’s a recognizable and marketable franchise at this point, Dinner for Schmucks continues on with American’s decade old decision to appropriate as many foreign products as possible, make ‘em uniquely our own and make a few million dollars along the way.

For those of us never privy to viewing Le Dîner De Cons director Jay Roach takes care of it all for us while again rending Paul Rudd as a well meaning, semi-heartthrob in a romantic comedy. It’s a position Rudd really has to be tired of at this point even as he’s probably made a mint off of being someone’s snarky straight man for something like two decades.

Pretty soon after Dinner for Schmucks begins it becomes clear that the entire thing is really meant to borrow as liberally from the atmosphere’s Michel Gondry has created over an odd film career, but set it all within a palatable and simplified romantic/business comedy suited for all of America.

Gondry still isn’t the best known name in film within Stateside circles. But an early scene where Rudd’s character hits the Carell character with a car and discovers his artwork seems plain cribbed – everything from the tiny, handmade images to the way Rudd’s show exploring the oddities that count as taxidermy as well as photography.

Roach and the film’s writers - David Guion and Michael Handelman – do need to be applauded for inserting this little, twist. And while it rings true for a significant portion of the film, the Carell character doing a presentation towards the end of the film arrives as pretty awkward. Not quite unwatchable, but belabored.

To fully complete this film’s transformation from Frenchy film to American product, though, a pretty unsurprising, happy Hollywood ending gets soldered on the complete this effort. Of course, just about anyone paying attention should have expected as much. And as unrealistic or ridiculous as the final moments of this movie are, it’s still not a bad way to waste two hours.