April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: Francis Veber

Hollywood Movie Roundup: ‘Schmucks’ looks to kick ‘Inception’ auds awake

HollywoodNews.com: Three films are attempting to stir moviegoers to the fact that there are other films at the multiplex other than the blockbuster “Inception.”
Paramount bows Jay Roach’s “Dinner for Schmucks” starring Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and Zach Galifianakis – a much needed comedy in a summer that has only touted two to date: “Get Him to the Greek” and Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups.”
Those looking for laughs have allegedly shelled out $10 million to “Schmucks” on Friday night, putting the film ahead of “Inception” which made close to $8 million. However, when Sunday comes, it looks like both films could have a photo finish for No. 1.
Critics have been split on the comedy which is a remake of the 1998 French Film “The Dinner Game” directed by Francis Veber.
“Schmucks” follows a budding finance executive played by Rudd who in order to peg his way up the corporate ladder must attend a dinner hosted by his boss. The demands of the event require that each guest bring an idiotic person with him. Rudd’s character Tim befriends Barry (Carell), an earnest, but aloof guy who recreates famed paintings with dead mice.
Rotten Tomatoes critics are split on “Schmucks” with a 52% score. The Boston Globe’s Ty Burr serves up an even take: “A number of bits don’t work, some of the characters wear out their welcome, but the whole suckers you into an agreeable state of idiot bliss.”

Also vying to take a bite out of the box office is Universal’s Zac Efron weepy romancer “Charlie St. Cloud.” Efron plays Charlie, a guy so overridden with grief from the death of his younger brother, he takes a job at the cemetery where the body resides. As Charlie connects with the ghost of his brother, he also falls in love with a girl and must choose between the two. “Charlie St. Cloud” has a low 24% score on the Tomatometer with such critics like the Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt blasting “An unstable mix of youth romance, metaphysical idealism and tropes that seemingly belong in a horror film.”
In early estimates, “Charlie St. Cloud” made just over $5 million Friday. Kate Basinger co-stars.
Warner Bros.’ kid pic “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” enters a crowded family market with an estimated $4.3 million Friday and a low Tomatometer rating of 13%. To its advantage ultimately is the [...]

REVIEW: Saggy main course almost dooms “Dinner for Schmucks”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Dinner for Schmucks (**1/2 out of 4 stars)
Jay Roach’s “Dinner for Schmucks” starts strong. It even ends strong. It’s that saggy, aimless middle section that might leave an unsatisfied taste in your mouth.
The cringe comedy tears out of the gate riding a stream of consistent, uproarious laughs as it establishes its premise, which Roach lifted from Francis Veber’s French comedy “Le Diner de Cons,” which he admires. Paul Rudd plays Tim, a ladder-climbing financial analyst with a gorgeous girlfriend (Stephanie Szostak) and realistic dreams of graduating from his company’s sixth floor (where the minions grumble) to the seventh (where the elite rub elbows).
To get there, Tim must participate in his boss’s cruel game: Find a fool and bring him or her to dinner so the supposedly superior can chuckle at their misfortunes. Initially Tim balks, believing the practice to be, as he says, “messed up.” But the game changes once he runs, literally, into Barry (Steve Carell), a clueless dweeb with a passion for taxidermy — resulting in the film’s funniest running joke — but a lack of social aptitude or a verbal filter.
Carell’s presence usually enhances the comedic potential in a situation. Not so with “Schmucks.” The actor’s approach to Barry is so bizarre, so off-the-rails, it sufficiently separates Tim’s predicament from the tiny corner of reality it once occupied.
There is a dichotomy in “Schmucks” that bears exploring. Tim believes Barry is his ticket to a better life. Of course, the longer Tim lingers in Barry’s presence, the more destruction — both personal and physical — this senseless stranger creates.
And yet, as Barry throws out Tim’s back, scares off his girlfriend, invites a lingering stalker (Lucy Punch) into the mix, and tosses him to the IRS for an unfortunate audit, we find ourselves wondering if anyone — even someone who is supposed to be an idiot — would behave this way. Roach sets up a scene where Punch chases Carell around Rudd’s apartment. She’s obsessed with Tim, and wants to make him jealous by pretending to sexually spank Barry. Before long, she is throwing wine bottles at Barry’s head, shattering glass shelves and picture frames. Carell disrupts her amorous charge by playing dead, and Punch simply walks out. The scene works up a good deal of energy before going nowhere.
A number of scenes in “Schmucks” follow the same template, [...]

Interview: “Dinner for Schmucks” director Jay Roach on Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Sacha Baron Cohen

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Don’t call it a remake.
Yes, Jay Roach’s latest comedy “Dinner for Schmucks,” which opens this Friday, drops Steve Carell and Paul Rudd into hilariously uncomfortable situations that are reminiscent of French director Francis Veber’s 1998 comedy, “The Dinner Game.”
But Roach, who recently spoke with Hollywood News about the production, was quick to point out that they moved away from the “Dinner Game” premise to weave their own, unique joke.
The film stars Rudd as a ladder-climbing corporate executive who is asked to invite an idiot to a strange dinner-party game. He thinks he discovers a slam-dunk dork in Carell. Then, however, Roach says their film goes down several different avenues as it distances itself from Veber’s film, which he considers a masterpiece.
“Our film starts with that premise. It’s inspired by (the original movie). But the entire third act was not part of the original French film. It’s a great film. I am a huge fan of Veber. But we went with ‘Inspired by’ instead of ‘Based on’ because I felt we couldn’t beat his jokes. And though we borrow the concept of the story, basically none of the jokes are the same,” Roach said.
For Roach, it’s always a learning process. In addition to directing Myers through the “Austin Powers” films, he helmed two “Meet the Parents” films and served as a producer for Sacha Baron Cohen’s outrageous “Borat” and “Bruno” comedies.
“His comedy is so specific, and he is so amazing at it,” Roach said of Cohen. “I’ve never seen an audience laugh harder than they laughed at ‘Borat.’ I can remember, literally, just looking around at the audience during that naked fight sequence and going, ‘Oh my God, I will never direct anything that has people flopping around in their seats as hard as they are right now.’
“So I learned from those experiences that he is a master,” Roach continued. “I was a producer on those films, and I helped with the post process where we screened it over and over and kept finding the film with the interactions with the audience. I think I evolved through that.”
Audiences will find out how far Roach’s comedy styles have evolved when “Dinner for Schmucks” opens in theaters Friday, July 30.
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