Sometimes, you just need to relax with a mindless comedy and that’s partly why I took the time to watch Dinner for Schmucks. Starring Paul Rudd as yet another Joe Everyman and Steve Carell as another socially awkward character, Dinner for Schmucks isn’t quite sure where it finds itself on the morality scale.
In order to land his much-desired promotion, Paul Rudd must bring the most ridiculous person he can to a so-called dinner for winners. The truth is that the dinner, hosted by Rudd’s bosses and their other rich friends, is a venue where said hosts can make fun of the guests. Carell’s character is among the oddest, creating dioramas with dead mice, and the audience is left wondering whether we should feel guilty for laughing at him. We know this dinner is wrong, but the makers of the movie still pour on the comedy.
If you’re willing to check your ethics at the door, there are some good laughs to be had here. Zach Galifianakis of Hangover fame is particularly amusing when he makes use of his “mind control” techniques on Carell’s character. For my part, Dinner for Schmucks is easily forgettable, but it does provide for some cheap giggles too.
Get Him to the Greek (2010)
This isn’t really a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but Russell Brand does reprise his role as rock star Aldous Snow in Get Him to the Greek. The weird thing is that Jonah Hill is also in this new film, but he’s playing an entirely different character altogether. Well, he’s the same guy, but in a different role… we all know how people get type-cast.
In a nutshell, Jonah’s character works for a record label and he has to get Aldous Snow to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in time for a comeback concert of sorts. Naturally, Aldous leads a little too much of a rock star lifestyle, filled with drugs, alcohol, and women. I’m a pretty big fan of Russell Brand’s brand of comedy, so this movie was a fun little diversion for me.
That said, it was Sean “P. Diddy” Combs who steals the show with his portrayal of a record label executive. He has plenty of great one-liners; for instance, when he is chasing Brand and Hill down a hallway, he exclaims, “You can’t outrun me! I’m black!” No, it’s not politically correct at all, but it’s pretty funny. Don’t expect the world from Get Him to the Greek, but it’s still worth watching.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
Moving away from the comedy genre, we find one of the most compelling movies from last year. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is based on a Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson. The somewhat complex plot involves a middle-aged journalist who loses a libel case against a billionaire industrialist. Before he heads off to prison for three months, he is hired on a freelance basis to investigate the disappearance of the man’s great-niece some 40 years ealier.
The same man hires a gifted private investigator named Lisbeth Salander and she ends up in a psuedo-relationship with the journalist. What results is a whirlwind investigation with Nazi history, family ties, deception, corruption, and even a little dash of love. The film does run a little long and you’ll need to read subtitles, but it’s worth your time. It’s both compelling and haunting, following several leads which only develop into more questions.
As I understand it, there is another film in the series (also based on a book by the same author in the same series) called The Girl Who Played With Fire. The DVD is scheduled for release later this month, so that’s probably worth picking up as well.