The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 114 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Brazilian Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
Starring: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Jemaine Clement, Jeff Dunham, Bruce Greenwood, Ron Livingston, Zach Galafanakis
Directed by: Jay Roach
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
Written by: David Guion & Michael Handelman
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 4, 2011
"Takes one to know one"
There's only one thing keeping aspiring executive Tim (Paul Rudd) from corporate success. He must find the perfect guest to bring to his boss's monthly dinner party, where the winner of the evening is the one who arrives with the biggest buffoon. Luckily, Tim meets Barry (Steve Carell), a guy who re-creates famous works of art with stuffed mice. When the duo show up to dine, the lunacy kicks into high gear. It's a hilarious feast about two unlikely friends and one outrageous dinner!
I generally have a high tolerance for slapstick buffoonery especially if it involves an actor that I find funny. Steve Carell has cracked me up ever since I first saw him in Bruce Almighty. The trailer for Dinner for schmucks wasn't enough to lure me to the theater but I figured it would eventually work its way to me for review. Paul Rudd makes for a perfect straight man to Carell's zany antics in this stupid funny flick about an ambitious corporate executive who's looking to impress his boss but winds up alienating everyone in his life. Tim (Rudd) perks up a strategy meeting and offers an idea that garners the attention of his superiors who decide to invite him to a party regularly held at the boss's house. The only requirement for invitation is that everyone must bring a companion that is as unusual as possible. The purpose being an evening of fun spent goofing on them which ends with a trophy going to the oddest standout.
Eager to please but uncertain of who he will bring Tim's answer comes when he accidentally bumps into Barry, a lonely divorcee who oddly takes solace in mouse taxidermy. Barry seems harmless enough however once Tim extends a little friendship Barry clings to him with a fervent desire to bond. Unfortunately Barry's good intentions proceed to turn Tim's seemingly balanced life upside down which eventually fractures their friendship. In an effort to pick up the pieces Tim attends the party anyway, in the hopes of smoothing things over with his boss, only to find that when the chips are down perhaps being the friend of a schmuck isn't such a bad thing after all.
Dinner for schmucks is palatable but nearly misses the mark thanks to an overworked screenplay that tries to hard as opposed to relying on the strength of its competent cast. There is laugh out loud humor, funny bone tickling moments and a little romance to spice things up. It can be a little raw but manages to keep things light. Carell handles Barry brilliantly and comes across with just the right amount of annoying likeability which reminded me of Bill Murray's Bob Wiley in What about Bob? Paul Rudd is Paul Rudd (which is a good thing) and I thought that the paring with Carell worked well. The ensemble cast is made up of an assortment of character actors/funny people who all contribute on some level (Zach Galifianakis fans will appreciate his small but integral role). The bizarre gathering of oddballs at the party and the shenanigans that ensue are a hoot.
I enjoyed Dinner for schmucks but as I alluded to earlier it simply ran too long. The character of Darla is given way too much screen time. Her role should have been reduced to a reference and one quick scene (probably the one in the restaurant). That isn't to imply that her scenes are the only ones that were overplayed as there are several sequences that should have either been cut altogether or edited. A comedy like this shouldn't run any more than 90 minutes or so. Luckily Rudd and Carell have ample opportunity to keep the narrative's humorous misadventure flowing in the right direction. The ending even managed to be a little warm and fuzzy which a feel good film fan like me always appreciates. So what's the bottom line? Dinner for schmucks has more to offer than you might think and makes for a fair entry in the lewd/crude, man-child, stupid funny genre.
The rating is for sequences of crude and sexual content, some partial nudity and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Dinner for schmucks comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
This is a great looking video presentation that boasts vivid primary colors and excellent depth and dimension. Images are sharp, delineated and revealing of subtle textural detail that enhances the perception of minutia within clothing, physical features and objects onscreen. Blacks are rich with deep highlights that provide plenty of pop during dark sequences that contain mixed content. Detail in shadowy backgrounds and dim lighting in the nighttime exterior sequences is quite good which gives those segments appreciable depth of field. Grain is noticeable and tends to be is a bit more pronounced in low level scenes but isn't distracting. Fidelity never wavers in this beautifully rendered high def encoding from Paramount.
The DTS MA soundtrack is quite good and easily renders the source elements with excellent clarity and punchy dynamics. Dialogue is delivered with crystal clarity and discerning tonal characteristics through the center channel. The surrounds are active at times and used to good effect for sound effects and mild but enveloping ambience. The mix is well balanced and creates an enjoyable surround sound experience that perfectly matches the tone of the film.
- (HD) The biggest schmucks in the world - 15 minute featurette
- (HD) The men behind the Mouseterpieces - 11 minute featurette
- (HD) Meet the winners - 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Schmuck ups - 8 minute gag/outtake reel
- (HD) 6 deleted scenes with play all option
- (HD) Paul & Steve: The decision - 3 minute spoof
Dinner for schmucks doesn't bring anything new to the stupid funny genre table and at 114 minutes runs longer than it should. However it does have a certain comedic charm thanks to the well oiled paring of leads Paul Rudd and Steve Carell. I had my share of chuckles watching it and believe that keeping expectations in check help make its sometimes overplayed slapstick more tolerable. I have no complaints with its high definition audio/video presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount as it looks terrific and features crystal clear lossless sound quality. The middling assortment of bonus supplements offer little on the production but are worth checking out if you enjoyed the film. When you're in the mood for a little over the top humor this one should do nicely.
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