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.
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