It's rare that I find a movie completely deplorable, but somehow even with an amazing cast including Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Ron Livingston, Bruce Greenwood and Zach Galifianakis, Director Jay Roach's Dinner for Schmucks fails at every turn. The premise of it is crass - let's be honest. Tim (Paul Rudd) in an effort to advance his own career, is asked by his Boss Lance (Bruce Greenwood) to bring the biggest Idiot he can find to a Dinner, where the person deemed most entertaining (at their own expense) is declared the winner. Winning this of course, would do wonders in Tim's relentless pursuit of impressing his Boss.
While driving, Tim hits Barry (Steve Carell) accidentally. Barry is found on the middle of the road trying to rescue a dead Rat (he dresses Taxidermied Rats for Display Pieces). And yes, he's that big of a Schmuck. Realizing that Barry just might be the Godsend that he needed to bring to this career-defining Dinner, Tim wastes no time courting him as his Dinner Date. From there, the rolling Lint Ball of Idiocy continues to collect dirt, including Barry completely sabotaging Tim's relationship with girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) by planting the thought in her head that Tim is having an affair. Unintentionally, just to clarify. Tim however, also has his insecurities about Julie being involved with one of her clients, the over-the-top macho Kieran (Jemaine Clement) and this plants a giant wedge in their relationship long enough to keep the antics going in this hot pile of mess.
Dinner for Schmucks fails because its foundation is weak and never really trancends being funny off-paper. It is hard to imagine that Roach who brought us classics like Austin Powers and Meet the Parents, is responsible for this mediocrity. Where we should be laughing, we instead wind up feeling guilty as Barry genuinely is a nice person despite his obvious shortcomings in intelligence. Carell, Rudd and Galifianakis - all of whom I am a huge fan of - never really hit their best stride and are under-utilized completely. And I'm not sure who cast Szostak as the leading lady but it's clear that Comedy isn't her strongest suit - this might have been forgivable if she had any trace of chemistry with Rudd, but this never surfaces. Awful. Paramount Pictures' Dinner for Schmucks is now in wide release. Grade: D