Dinner for Schmucks

Rated 3.0

A young investment counselor (Paul Rudd) has to find a “loser” to join him and be subtly ridiculed at a sadistic dinner, and fate hands him more than he bargained for in the person of an IRS auditor (Steve Carell) whose hobby is mouse taxidermy. Francis Veber’s French comedy The Dinner Game (1998) was obviously headed for an American remake (as so many of Veber’s other movies have been), but in translating it, writers David Guion and Michael Handelman and director Jay Roach manage entirely to miss the point. They change the main character from an arrogant snob to nice-guy Rudd, and his subsequent torment at the hands of his new, well-meaning friend loses the symmetry and poetic justice of Veber’s original. Still the movie has its fun, mostly thanks to Carell, whose character is the least tinkered with.