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February 23, 2011
Dinner For Schmucks Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
5/8/201027/1/2011ParamountJay Roach
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MSteve Carell

THE MOVIE
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Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in Dinner for Schmucks.

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.

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Enjoying some quiet time...
One thing that surprised is the amount of time it takes for this film to get to the actual "dinner". Having said that, by taking 80 minutes to get to the dinner scene you get to invest a lot of time in the characters, and that really pays off in the long run and towards the end of the film. Indeed you really do start to feel for both Tim and Barry during the course of their adventures and it's this fondness that will see you through to the end of the film. Should the two lead actors not have that special on-screen chemistry, and this is their third movie together after all, then the film would likely fall apart. It must also be said that the supporting cast are solid too and it was great to see Chris O'Dowd from my favourite TV show The IT Crowd make a very entertaining appearance at the dinner sequence.

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.

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Dinner for Schmucks is on Blu-Ray now.
VIDEO
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.

AUDIO
Paramount have presented this movie on Blu-Ray with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) audio track and despite being very much dialogue driven the clarity of the audio is exceptional with clear dialogue, and great music when it kicks in. Surround sound channel use is somewhat limited, but again, as with the music, when it is used, it is quite effective.

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.

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Chris O'Dowd and Zach Galifianakis are great.
EXTRAS
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.

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A gorgeous diorama with mice!
Paul and Steve: The Decision (3:50/HD): Paul and Steve do a mock "Decision" announcement similar to the one by Lebron James last year.

Deleted Scenes (9:13/HD): There are six deleted scenes here, some are decent, but nothing too exceptional here.

OVERALL
While it never reaches its lofty potential Dinner for Schmucks is still an entertaining movie worth checking out. The audio visual presentation is solid while there are a few extras worth checking out too.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
7/10
THE VIDEO
8/10
THE AUDIO
9/10
THE EXTRAS
5/10
OVERALL
7/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Paramount. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.