Dinner for Schmucks (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

In the past few years actor Paul Rudd has really made a name for himself. Yes, we all know he was in “Clueless” way back when and he’s been in a few other movies here and there (“The Object of My Affection”, anyone?) but it really wasn’t until he hooked up with the Judd Apatow crew that he really got noticed. With supporting parts in both “Anchorman” and “The 40-Year Old Virgin”, Rudd proved that he could hang with the big dogs of comedy – Will Ferrell and Steve Carell, respectively. He then had a small part in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” before he got a leading part in 2008’s “Role Models”, one of the funniest movies I’ve seen and one that I still watch a few times a year. From there he and Peter Segal epitomized the “bromance” movie with “I Love You, Man.” And now with “Dinner for Schmucks”, Rudd tries to pull off the hat trick again teaming with Steve Carrell. Could he do it and, more to the point, was the movie any good?

Things are going well for Tim (Paul Rudd), he’s eyeing up that corner office on the 7th floor and with his new potential client it all seems like a lock. But…not so fast, Tim. Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood), the CEO of the company, throws an annual get together with the executives of his company. The catch is that they each have to bring a guest to dinner who’s, shall we say…not the sharpest knife in the drawer. At the end of the evening, the winner is crowned and the executives can go back to patting themselves on the backs. As fate would have it, Tim literally runs into Barry (Steve Carell). Barry works for the IRS but his true passion is gathering dead mice off the side of the road and dressing them up in various poses for display. He’s actually quite talented, but missed the boat when it comes to common sense. Tim’s found his man and all he has to do is bring him to the dinner and he’s as good as in. However Tim’s girlfriend, Julie (Stephanie Szostak), doesn’t approve. Things quickly go from bad to worse when an ex-one night stand of Tim’s comes back into the picture. Will Tim do the right thing or will his desire for that corner office take precedence over a moral issue?

I really didn’t know what to expect when I popped in “Dinner for Schmucks.” I remember the movie coming out last summer and it was a modest success earning around $75 million at the box office, but for some reason it always remained at the bottom of my pile. Having seen it and having had to pause the movie several times from laughing so hard, I’m sorry to say that I waited this long to give it a viewing. Steve Carell is absolutely perfect in this role and Paul Rudd does his best deadpan to try to counteract what Carell is doing on screen. We then throw Zach Galifianakis into the mix and things get really out of hand. This isn’t to say that the movie is perfect, none are, it is a bit predictable but the slapstick comedy works so well that I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone else who could have done Steve Carell’s part. To say that Paul Rudd completed his hat trick is a bit of an understatement. These two play well off one another and I can only hope and pray that they’re put back in a movie again soon. For fans of Carell this is an absolute must.

Video: How does it look?

“Dinner for Schmucks” comes to Blu-ray in a very nice-looking 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer. This is pretty much what I expected to see from a day and date release. The warm colors of southern California give the movie a nice tone and the intricacies of Tim’s apartment come to life. Detail looks great, we can see Carell’s red toupee ever so clearly. Contrast and black levels are right on the money as well. To sum it up, this is exactly what I was expecting from this transfer. There are a few soft spots, but nothing to get overheated about – viewers will not be disappointed in the least.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is consistent with that of a comedy. There are a few instances where the surrounds really come into play, but this is mainly a front-heavy track. Dialogue is at the center here and if you can stop laughing long enough to watch Steve Carell’s genius on screen, you’ll realize that the audio delivers just as it should. I really wish that I could give a better description as to the soundtrack here, but it delivers just as it should – plain and simple.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There’s a good sampling of supplements on this one disc edition. We start off with a brief casting featurette entitled “The Biggest Schmucks in the World.” Admittely it’s a bit routine, but there are some funny tidbits in there. More interesting is the segment aptly-titled “The Men Behind the Mousterpieces” as we meet the trio of brothers who literally hand-crafted the mice-themed pieces of art that Steve Carell’s character makes. We meet the other “idiots” who are guests at the party and their various, uh, talents. We also get some outtakes (I’m sure there were many more than these) as well as half a dozen deleted scenes. Lastly we get a segment that aired on ESPN in July 2010 as Paul Rudd and Steve Carell as they give their take on LeBron James’ decision to leave Cleveland and head to Miami. I’m not sure what part this actually played and can only assume that it was done to promote the movie’s release.

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