Dinner for Schmucks Trailer: Paul Rudd Hates Steve Carell, But Not Too Much
Americanization! Here we have the trailer for Jay Roach's Dinner for Schmucks, which is the English-language remake of Francis Veber's 1998 French comedy The Dinner Game. The differences between the two -- and the apparent softening of the new film -- are instructive.
Veber's original film starred Thierry Lhermitte as an arrogant, adulterous publisher who attends a weekly dinner where the guests bring along an idiot as their plus-one so that everyone else can laugh at him. Eventually, he finds a supreme doofus (Jacques Villeret) who upends his life.
In Roach's remake, Rudd is the lead and Carell is the doofus, but now Rudd is just some up-and-coming executive who has a heart of gold and really, really doesn't want to attend his boss's idiot dinner, but eventually does after fate keeps throwing the hapless Carell at him. It's like you can hear the studio notes that say, "We love the idea of our hero going to this dinner to laugh at idiots...the only problem is that it makes him unsympathetic." Guys, Paul Rudd can't be made unsympathetic, no matter how rude he is (see Wet Hot American Summer for the evidence). Is it really necessary to sand off the edges of such a spiky premise, and to cast Jeff Dunham in a supporting role while you're at it?
VERDICT: Still, it's got Rudd, Carell, and Zach Galifianakis. I'm torn.