Movie review: "Dinner for Schmucks"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

I've been waiting for a great comedy, one of those laugh-your-face-off sillyfests that you tell all your friends they have to see.

It hadn't happened yet this summer, and unless you count "The Hangover" - good, but not great, especially if you know how funny Zach Galifianakis can really be - it didn't happen last summer.

I'm pleased to report "Dinner for Schmucks" is one of those comedies.

Tim (Paul Rudd) is a mid-level finance worker eager for a big promotion, mostly because he thinks it will be the push his girlfriend, Julie (Stephanie Szostak), needs to finally accept his repeated marriage proposal.

He finally gets an in with the boss (Bruce Greenwood), who invites him to the annual Dinner for Extraordinary People. Basically, a bunch of rich folks bring a loser guest and they make fun of their misfortune. Stay classy, rich people.

Tim hits the idiot jackpot in a chance encounter with Barry (Steve Carell), a delightfully aloof guy whose passion is recreating works of art with elaborately arranged stuffed mice.

Trailers for "Schmucks" left me underwhelmed, but director Jay Roach ("Meet the Parents") keeps his comedic plates spinning, working from the French film "The Dinner Game."

Carell is at his funniest since "40 Year Old Virgin," and Rudd gives the comedy a heart. Galifianakis shows up at his most absurd, and Jemaine Clement kills as a pompous artist.

This is the comedy of the summer. Go see it. And hold on to your face.

"Dinner for Schmucks"

Opens Friday

3.5 stars out of 4