It’s no secret that the Apatow bromance brigade has become a brand; in fact, with rare exception (i.e. “The Hangover,” but even they were riffing on the established M.O.), it’s become damn near impossible to sell a comedy to an audience without some indication that it will include leads from within a certain pool and follow a bromantic plot structure.
And, as with any movement that hits on something too insightful for its own good, it has begun to be the focus of exploitation.
Enter the trailer for “Dinner for Schmucks,” the new film directed by Jay Roach of “Meet the Parents” fame. The film stars Paul Rudd (surprise!) as Tim Conrad, a go-getter who discovers that in order to obtain a promotion, he must present his bosses with a funny moron (Steve Carell) at a dinner that serves as a rite of passage.
The plot seems simple enough, which works for me because I’m just eager to see Rudd and Carell back together again (the last time they were in a movie together was in 2005 in “The 40 Year Old Virgin”). My only concern is that they’re working in a genre that is being slowly beaten to death. Jay Roach is an adequate director, but he’s working outside of his normal paradigm, and I’m thinking he wants to capitalize on the craze.
“Dinner for Schmucks” hits theaters July 23. Maybe it will surprise us with originality, but I wouldn’t count on it.