In a New Yorker profile of Steve Carell, writer Tad Friend described 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 lightweights like 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.
Director: Jay Roach
Producer: Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Jay Roach, Francis Veber, Amy Sayres, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum
Cast: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Bruce Greenwood, Ron Livingston, Jemaine Clement, Jeff Dunham, Stephanie Szostak, Lucy Davenport, Lucy Punch, David Walliams, Zach Galifianakis, Rick Overton, Octavia Spencer, Larry Wilmore, Patrick Fischler and Andrea Savage