And maybe the funniest moment of all is when Tim twists his back and Barry pounces on him to straighten it out again declaring, “Don’t worry. I’m a licensed taxidermist.”
The “Dinner” of the title, surprisingly, accounts for only a morsel of the movie, near the end. Tim wants a promotion at his evil workplace, but his wicked boss has a tradition of only offering such career advancements to employees who are good at playing “the dinner game.”
Upwardly aspiring employees compete to see who can bring the biggest idiot to a dinner party – for the boss’ amusement. By the time the party occurs though, we’ve come to sympathize completely with Barry. He turns the dinner for schmucks on its ear.
The movie celebrates how the key to happiness can be learning to embrace your own inner idiot. And the final embracing image of Tim and Barry is its perfect expression.
Comedy is a funny thing. Sometimes what makes one laugh comes as a surprise and often the more stupid the joke the bigger the belly laughs. So I wonder. Maybe I don’t have to develop a new theory at all.
Maybe, I just need to give the old one a twist. Could Dinner for Schmucks be so funny because it’s all about acting funny in situations where acting funny is the last thing one expects? And Barry is just the sort of likeable creation to make it all work?