In a recent New Yorker profile of Steve Carell, writer Tad Friend describes the endless filmed improvisation that goes into the average big-studio comedy these days, and his piece goes a long way toward explaining why so many of these movies stink: Once written by wits like Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin, and I.A.L. Diamond, American comedies are now ad-libbed by such lightweights as Jason Segel and Owen Wilson. This remake of the French farce The Dinner Game (1998) is a perfect example of the modern comedy mill gone wrong, a prolonged muddle whose plot, specific situations, and improvised quips never line up. Corporate climber Paul Rudd, invited to an exclusive dinner where each guest is required to bring along a fool for ridicule, recruits prize dork Carell, who makes little dioramas with stuffed rodents. Jay Roach of the Austin Powers franchise directed; with Zach Galifianakis, Jemaine Clement, and Lucy Punch (109 min).
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Ken Daurio, David Guion, Michael Handelman, Cinco Paul, Francis Veber and Jon Vitti
Producer: Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes
Cast: Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Stephanie Szostak, Jemaine Clement, Zach Galifianakis, Lucy Punch, David Walliams, Ron Livingston, Chris O'Dowd and Andrea Savage