“I kept waiting for Jay Roach‘s Dinner for Schmucks to run out of steam or jokes — but it rarely did,” writes Marshall Fine. “Not that the laughs built to a big payoff. Nor did they evoke the kind of gasping-for-air quality that, say, The Hangover did. But director Roach, working from a script by David Guion and Michael Handelman, regularly jolts you with enough unexpected and wonderfully weird moments that you rarely grow impatient with this broad comedy.

“Indeed, I’d count this film as one of the rare — very rare — examples of a film adapted by Hollywood from one of those French farces that Francis Veber seems to toss off in his sleep that actually works (The Birdcage is one of the only other ones I can think of). Roach and his writers succeed because they turn the story into something uniquely their own, without losing the core of the original. Indeed, as I recall, the Veber original was one of his lamer efforts – which means that the Americans have improved upon it.”

I want to believe you, Marshall, but I can’t. I just can’t. Steve Carell‘s blonde goony-bird characterization just stops me in my tracks. It’s a character based on the desire of an actor to be funny in order to make people laugh in order to sell tickets in order to make money.