There are those Saturday nights when you find yourself at home, relaxing on the couch, and flipping through channels on the TV. You happen upon a movie that you’ve never seen and you decide to watch it. That’s how my husband and I spent last Saturday night. We knew nothing about the film that was playing, so we went in with little to no expectations, and it turns out that was a very good thing.
The movie we watched was Dinner for Shmucks. The story in and of itself, was lame and unoriginal. Tim (Paul Rudd), an ambitious executive, finally scores an invite from his boss to the monthly “dinner for schmucks.” Bragging rights go to whichever invitee brings the biggest buffoon to dinner. Tim meets Barry (Steve Carell), a peculiar and obtuse IRS employee who builds elaborate taxidermy mouse dioramas as a hobby, and Tim believes he’s found the perfect schmuck.
Due to the film’s title, we looked forward to seeing the dinner scene. It took forever to get to it, and when we finally did, the “schmucks” we’d been waiting to see were a big disappointment. Before the main event, we sat through scene after scene of unoriginal drudgery played out to death. So many of the film’s scenes were painful to sit through and seemed pointless.
For all its faults, the film’s cast of performers is a good one. I usually enjoy watching the comedic stylings of Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Crazy, Stupid, Love) and Paul Rudd (Roles Models and Knocked Up), but they just weren’t as funny as they’ve been in the past. Carell was a chore to watch and Rudd appeared to be going through the motions. Zach Galifianakis, as the villain, was so over the top that he just enhanced the painstaking nonsense of it all.
While watching, you get the sense that the film should be generating more laughs than it does, but the story and the characters just don’t allow for it. This comedy of humiliation is an exercise in patience and endurance, and my husband and I exercised all of the patience we could muster to endure the looooong call to dinner.
Which disappointing comedies have you “endured” recently? Let us know in the comments section.