On paper this really is a dream setup for a movie. Directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers), starring Steve Carell (The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Office (US Version), Evan Almighty) and Paul Rudd (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) and based on a French movie with the screenplay by Francis Veber called Le Diner de Cons everything seemed to be in place for sure-fire hit. With a production budget of $US69 million the studios were putting a lot behind this comedy - a genre which rarely sees a budget anywhere near this number.
Tim (Paul Rudd) is a rising executive who succeeds in finding the perfect guest, IRS employee Barry (Steve Carell), for his boss's monthly event, a so-called dinner for idiots. The executive who brings the biggest idiot is then given certain advantages.
Given the talent in this movie the final product never quite lives up to the potential. It's not a bad movie, and there are quite a few entertaining moments littered throughout the film, but it fails to have the impact we hoped. Still, it's worth checking out.
Dinner for Schmucks is presented on Blu-Ray in the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the presentation is pretty impressive with decent shadow detail, plenty of sharpness to the image and fine detail evident. Skin tones are natural and the film has a realistic, slightly understated, look to it. Aiding the quality of the picture is the high bitrate for the AVC MPEG-4 codec which often hovers in the mid-30Mbps range according to our PS3.
There are plenty of other audio tracks on this disc including a German, English Audio Description, Spanish, French and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks each of which is encoded at 640kbps. We briefly sampled these tracks and didn't notice any glaring issues. Subtitles are provided in Danish, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish and English for the Hearing Impaired. We sampled the English track which is accurate to the dialogue in the film.
There are a few extras on the Dinner for Schmucks Blu-Ray so let's have a look...
The Biggest Schmucks in the World (15:05/HD): This is pretty much the "making of" documentary for the disc which is a little EPK-ish, but there are some interesting bits of information.
The Men Behind the Mousterpieces (11:36/HD): Probably the most interesting of the extras on this disc is this featurette which looks at the creation of the mice dioramas.
Meet the Winners (3:45/HD): Some brief interviews with the "idiots" invited to the dinner.
Schmuck Ups (8:16/HD): This is your gag reel and stuff-ups from the set. Typically these are pretty mundane, but given the comedic backgrounds to the actors and their ad-libbing this is pretty good.
Deleted Scenes (9:13/HD): There are six deleted scenes here, some are decent, but nothing too exceptional here.
Review By: Dave Warner