Dinner for Schmucks

Release Date: July 30, 2010

He killed a guy with a trident!

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Position Staff In Brief
28/190 Max Braden This was like a long SNL skit that nearly goes off the rails but stays on. Clement and Punch (against my typical judgement) provide a lot of laughs.

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Hollywood has collectively run out of ideas. When the brain drain officially began is debatable, but pointing to the 1980s seems to never bother anyone. Sequels, prequels, and remakes began to pile up at the cinemas and movie patrons do not seem to mind. After all, six of the top ten all time domestic earners are of the sequel-prequel-remake variety. In such a copycat business it is only fitting that Hollywood would eventually turn to remaking foreign classics. With a built in fan base and proven material the only surprise is that the rush did not happen sooner.

Fresh off the latest slate of foreign inspired remakes is Dinner for Schmucks. Based off the venerable French title “Le dîner de cons” (released as The Dinner Game stateside), the story follows a group of friends who share a weekly dinner together. To liven the party up each friend is to bring a companion who is a total idiot. At the end of dinner the friends get together and vote which companion was the biggest imbecile. The hijinks begin to ensue when the dinner host is forced to skip the dinner one night due to an injury. Unfortunately for the host his idiot savant has already arrived and the group must endure his companionship. The clever picture was a big hit abroad and took home various awards.

Dinner for Schmucks has been on tap to be remade for quite some time. A nasty split between DreamWorks and Paramount kept it on the shelf for years, but with their divorce complete the two titan studios agreed to co-finance the production along with Spyglass Entertainment. The writer and director of the original, Francis Verber, has been through the remake rodeo before, most successfully with The Birdcage and most disastrously with Father’s Day. Jay Roach will take Verber’s directorial chair for the remake, coming off of his Emmy-winning work for the HBO movie Recount. Roach is known for helming the money train franchises of Austin Powers and Meet the Parents.

As is common with projects that have languished in developmental purgatory there is a laundry list of screenwriters. More curious is the relative lack of experience for most of them with such a major production. Headlining the team is original creator Verber, though it is not known how much sway he will have for the picture. Aside from Verber, the only writer with a distinguished career so far is Jon Vitti, who largely has worked in television with shows like The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live. The script also received treatment from a pair of writing teams. David Guion and Michael Handelman have only one prior credit between them (The Ex) while Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio have teamed up for The Santa Clause 2 and Horton Hears a Who.

In a masterstroke of casting, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd are set to team up again. Their careers took off as part of the Channel 4 news team in Anchorman and they reunited for Carell’s breakout performance in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Carell has kept busy with television juggernaut The Office and a bourgeoning franchise in Get Smart. Rudd has kept a high profile by pinch hitting in Judd Apatow productions and becoming a leading man in his own right with hits like Role Models and I Love You, Man. (Brian Pew/BOP)

Vital statistics for Dinner for Schmucks
Main Cast Steve Carell, Paul Rudd
Supporting Cast Jemaine Clement, Jeff Dunham, Bruce Greenwood, Ron Livingston, Stephanie Szostak, Zach Galifianakis, Lucy Davenport, Kristen Schaal
Director Jay Roach
Screenwriter David Gulon, Michael Handelman, Francis Veber
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.dinnerforschmucks.com/
Rating PG-13
Running Time 114 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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