Five or six years after they propelled films like "Anchorman" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" to box-office success, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell are teaming up again in July's "Dinner for Schmucks," for which a trailer was released this week.
A remake of the French comedy "Le dîner de Cons" (a hilarious movie we happened to watch in French class?), the film is about a group of colleagues who host a monthly dinner during which they compete to see who can bring the biggest idiot to the meal.
In the film, Rudd plays Tim, a man seeking a promotion who learns that to secure a job bump, he will have to attend said ethically dubiousdinner. When he literally runs into Barry (Carell) -- a dork with a bad haircut who likes to drink Silk-brand milk straight out of the carton while watching animal programs on TV -- he thinks he's got his man. That is, until his friend finds out about the plan, and, not surprisingly, disapproves. There's also another schmuck, played by Zach Galifanakis, who apparently reads minds and sports a creepy beard.
It's nearly impossible not to laugh when Carell is playing zany, awkward characters (think "Virgin"). Rudd also seems to be reprising a role he knows well: the well-meaning straight man (think "I Love You Man"). The two character types do seem a bit tired at this point, and we want to dismiss the film as more of the same easy fodder -- but the trailer still leaves us hopeful. Maybe it's Carell's full-on commitment to playing a weirdo or the wild card that is Galifanakis, but based on the trailer, we're buying a ticket.
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Paul Rudd and Steve Carell star in "Dinner for Schmucks." Credit: DreamWorks.