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REVIEW: DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS

PUBLISHED: 16:16 01 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:10 14 October 2010

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Barry and Paul Rudd plays Tim in Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment?s comedy, ?Dinner for Schmucks.?

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Barry and Paul Rudd plays Tim in Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment?s comedy, ?Dinner for Schmucks.?

© 2010 DW Studios LLC. All Rights Reserved.

PAUL Rudd's back, safely typecast as charming, bumbling executive Tim Wagner whose promotion onto the company's hallowed seventh floor relies on his ability to schmooze the bigwigs at their monthly dinner party. This is no ordinary dinner though, this is

PAUL Rudd's back, safely typecast as charming, bumbling executive Tim Wagner whose promotion onto the company's hallowed seventh floor relies on his ability to schmooze the bigwigs at their monthly dinner party.

This is no ordinary dinner though, this is a DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS (12A) - and everyone invited has to bring an idiot as a guest with a prize awarded to the biggest buffoon.

Tim neatly sidesteps the moral outrage of his straight-laced girlfriend when he runs over Barry (Steve Carell) with his Porche and experiences first hand the obnoxiousness of this mouse-obsessed taxidermist. Barry makes models of historic events using dead mice. Tim has found his man. There follows a comedy of errors as Barry manages to single-handedly ruin Tim's life in a matter of hours while maintaining a heroic optimism about their blossoming friendship.

Jemaine Clement, Lucy Punch and Zach Galifianakis are outstanding as co-stars and this is a warm feelgood comedy. However, the ending is ridiculously predictable and the film suffers from not being as offensive as the title suggests - director Jay Roach playing it safe throughout. I couldn't escape the feeling that I'd seen this film before and it had been much funnier the first time. - Jo Usmar

ONCE you're part of the mafia, it's very hard to get out. Who knew? Well, anyone who's watched any gangster film since the dawn of cinema, that's who.

Yet for director Richard Berry, it's still big news and his debut effort, French thriller 22 BULLETS (18) takes great pains to make the point.

Sure, he shows off plenty of visual flair and there's a wonderfully charismatic central performance from Jean Reno but it's hard not to shake the feeling you seen this all before.

Based on a true story, Reno plays Charly Mattei, a retired mobster who was shot 22 times by former friends but miraculously survives to wreck revenge on those he once called his friends.

Too slow to be a proper action movie - Mattei spends the first half of the movie moping in a hospital bed - and too happy with simple clichés to be a nuanced character study, the film ends up pleasing no-one.

Berry pulls out all the stops to make the movie look and feel important but he's fooling no-one and it's left to the always watchable Reno to save the day with another captivating performance. - Justin Matlock

JULIETTE Binoche was the surprise winner of the Best Actress prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival for her performance in CERTIFIED COPY (12A), a meditative drama written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami, which draws parallels with Before Sunrise.

Celebrated British author James Miller (William Shimell) visits Tuscany to promote his new book, The Certified Copy. In the town, he meets French gallery owner Elle (Binoche) and the pair become friends, sharing their views on life and art as they tour the picturesque region, allowing some of the locals to believe they are husband and wife.

WITH no ideas of its own, British horror film SPLINTERED (18) decides to throw a bunch of borrowed plot points at the screen and see what sticks.

So we get creepy woods, an abandoned orphanage, mysterious monsters, a priest with a history and a bunch of good looking but stupid youngsters caught in the middle of the chaos.

Director Simeon Halligan puts it all together as best he can but he's dealing with a poor script sporting clunky dialogue, unappealing victims and that old chestnut for lazy horror writers: dodgy mobile phone reception.

In what proves to be the first of many stupid decisions, Sophie (Holly Weston) and her pals drive out to a remote wood on the trail of a legendary beast living in the woods. It's not long before the arguments start, the group split up and the bodies start dropping.

Halligan is by far the best thing about the film, orchestrating the odd moment of well-handled suspense but his good work is overshadowed by the script's weaknesses and the familiarity - which kill off the chance of any of the feeling remotely scary. - Justin Matlock


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