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Dinner for Schmucks

"Maybe you're a penguin, Tim, but Julie's not a penguin. She's a lioness. Don't try to mate a lioness with a penguin. Ever."

Aside from a few dips onto other genres, Jay Roach generally sticks with comedies, and seems to fare well when he’s doing big, broad ones. Take the Austin Power films, or perhaps Meet the Fockers. With such a strong curriculum vitae in comedy films, having him direct a remake of Francis Veber’s Le Dîner de Cons looks great on paper. But when it comes time to write, make, and release the movie, does it hold up as well? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Francis Veber and His Remakes series with the remake of his 1998 film Le Dîner de Cons with Roach’s 2010 film Dinner for Schmucks.

We talk about the general vibe that this remake feels so American, and what that means to the farce in the translation. We look at the construction of the characters and why we preferred them in the original. We chat about comedy beats that worked really well for us and gave us a sense of the Roach we were wanting. We discuss the nature of Veber’s films and why they seem so translatable. We talk about the actors, notably Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, but also Bruce Greenwood, Octavia Spencer, Stéphanie Szostak, Zach Galifianakis, Jemaine Clement, Lucy Punch, and more. We touch on Theodore Shapiro’s always great comedy score. And we touch on the title and how it compares to the original.

It’s an interesting concept for a film that doesn’t hold up to the original, but it still allows for a great conversation. So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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