Eat, Prey, Laugh
Dinner for Schmucks
Review by Ross Anthony

The film opens with a delightful collage of close in shots of dressed-up mice. Of course, they're dead, passed on as it were, but since a major character (Carell) plays taxidermist, the sequence makes good sense. This string of well-kept, well-adorned mice tells back story with charm and humor. And it christens the film with great promise.

The picture also ends with some might. The "big" dinner - the one upon which the premise rests, which holds the predictable climactic moment, which had been painfully delayed far too long - unwinds enjoyably.

Sadly, sandwiched between the beginning and end is more of a string of annoying incidents, than a developing story. Sure, there's some humor, but there's more aggravation. The brunch scene is particularly painfully trying.

These issues could have been resolved in the scripting and editing. With such prime talent and a great director, why was this script produced without further revision? Let's take a look at what worked. The scene where Rudd goes through the sleeping Carell's mice photos and "gets the picture." That's sweet. Why not give Rudd more screen time appreciating those silly little mice, and thus Carell from time to time. Warmer moments where Carell explains his love of that geeky art were completely absent. Regarding that awful brunch scene, why not have Rudd walk away from that proposal, ring on the table? Overall, neither Rudd, nor Carell progress as characters during the bulk of the picture. Instead, filmmakers hope that Carell fouling up Rudd's plans over and over would be interesting enough. It's not.

This film just barely keeps its grade out of my "C" range because of that open, end, and the strong scenes with Julie, and/or the animal artist guy (Jemaine Clement). Clement is a refreshing relief. If you like him here, you should see his comedy music duo "Flight of the Conchords."

Dinner for Schmucks
-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Dinner for Schmucks. Copyright © 2010.
  • Starring Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Stephanie Szostak, Zach Galifianakis, Bruce Greenwood, Lucy Davenport, Jemaine Clement, Jeff Dunham, Ron Livingston, Andrea Savage, Lucy Punch. Directed by Jay Roach. Screenplay by Andy Borowitz, Ken Daurio. Produced at Paramount Studios.

Grade..........................B- (1.5/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Friday, 30-Jul-2010 21:16:52 PDT