Posted on 11/20/12 09:21 PM
I like to imagine that this type of movie is some sort of twisted sociology experiment to determine viewer loyalty to a particular brand, place, or Hollywood entity. And this isn't a slap-dash sociology experiment, either; it takes years in the making, and involves lots and lots of preparation in the form of building up the legitimate and good filmographies of its various cast members. And once we have trust in these brands, places, or Hollywood entities, the system pulls the rug out from underneath us and watches us flounder, justifying our poor cinematic choices through unconvincing clenched teeth grins. "No, this is funny!" we snivel as an irritating, drunk nymphomaniac hurls bottles of wine at Steve Carrell's head while he walks around like a penguin in front of his hapless companion's plasma screen TV. "Ha ha... that's comedy," we simper as a ventriloquist's dummy unsuccessfully entices dinner guests to gaze into her shiny, creepy wooden cleavage. "Ah ha haaaa... I'm... I'm so entertained," we whimper as a woman hammily impersonates a lobster being boiled alive -- complete with squeals and banging on the table repeatedly in front of well-dressed socialites. Oh ho ho, imagine! What a fish out of water scenario, INDEED!
And while we're sitting there in the 180-seat observation chamber, growing weary of halfheartedly giggling simply to convince ourselves that we're having a good time, the suits behind the curtain pour their champagne and laugh their heads off at our misfortune. Damn it, can't you people see they're playing us like a bunch of puppets here? When will we learn?!
I'm loathe to admit that I made for the perfect subject in the study, because I naturally gravitated toward my comedic comfort zone in seeing the names of Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell splashed all over this thing. "Oh, they had great chemistry in '40-Year-Old Virgin'!" I said to myself. And you said it to yourself, too. DON'T TRUST THIS FEELING. THIS FEELING IS LYING TO YOU.
"Dinner For Schmucks" is one of the worst moviegoing experiences I've had all year; perhaps all century. Granted, it is a relatively young century, but at least I learned my lesson early. We'll just see if I'm dumb enough to get suckered into another one of these ... dinners for schmucks.