Paul Rudd plays a man named Tim who is trying to climb his way up the social ladder at work. When his boss gives him an opportunity to do just that, Tim is more than willing to do anything that he has to do, even if it puts his integrity – and his relationship with his girlfriend – on the line. His boss asks him a simple favor: find and bring a highly unusual person to dinner, preferably someone with a special talent. His boss tells him that it is a “dinner for winners” that he holds every year, and that the person with the most talent will win a trophy. Tim’s guest could possibly win, therefore elevating him to a superior position at work. Later on, Tim finds out that the dinner is in fact a “dinner for idiots,” and that the sole purpose of the dinner is to make fun of the eccentric guests. At first, Tim thinks that it is a terrible idea – that is until he meets Barry, an IRS employee with a strange taxidermy hobby involving stuffed mice. From here on in, Barry follows Tim everywhere, all the while believing that he has found a new friend. Meanwhile, Barry destroys everything in his path as a result of his idiocy and clumsiness. This puts Tim over the edge, and eventually, after we’ve met a handful of increasingly strange individuals, the dinner is on and Barry is in the spotlight. It all comes down to a cliché moral message about the importance of friendship. We’ve been there and done that. Jay Roach’s direction is mediocre at best, several scenes are underdeveloped, and the characters are so strange that they simply become annoying. It’s all wrong. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few chuckles here and there, but there are no laugh out loud moments. Considering the material, the humor isn’t dark enough. There is no edge. This comedy plays it safe to the very end. That’s nothing to laugh about.
114 minutes, PG-13 for crude humor.
I AM LOVE is screening at Cherrydale this week, and if you love film, you simply owe it to yourself to purchase a ticket.
The film is about a wealthy Italian family, The Recchis. On his birthday, Sr. Recchi passes the family business on to his son and grandson. However, Edoardo, the headstrong grandson decides to open up a restaurant with his best friend, Antonio, an accomplished chef with a knack for creating transcendent culinary masterpieces. When Edoardo’s mother, a Russian native named Emma, samples one of Antonio’s latest dishes, she instantly falls in love with him, and the two begin a passionate affair. It all leads to one of the most powerful finales that I have seen all year. In this film, the predictability factor is low, and so you never know what is around the corner. The film is amazing, with Tilda Swinton delivering her best performance in years. The direction is tight, and is mostly shot like an old Douglas Sirk film, with a few dreamily abstract flourishes – we even have those sprawling, dramatic credits at the beginning that are Sirk was so fond of. The music from John Adams adds the emotional punch that the film requires. An amazing film in every way. Meticulously directed by Luca Guadagnino. In Italian with English subtitles.
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120 mins. Rated R for sexuality and nudity.