DVD review: ‘The Dinner Game’ serves up bracing dose of French bile
As comedies of cruelty go, it’s hard to beat the French when it comes to dispensing Gallic gall.
But an Americanized effort at just that arrives in theaters this weekend in “Dinner for Schmucks,” which attempts a trans-Atlantic spin on French writer-director Francis Veber’s 1998 social farce “The Dinner Game” (“Le diner de cons”). Veber is a mainstay of French commercial cinema whose works have often been tepidly adapted for American release (see “The Birdcage,” “Pure Luck,” “Fathers’ Day,” “The Man With One Red Shoe,” “The Fugitives”).
It remains to be seen how well the mean-spirited idea of “The Dinner Game” translates to American tastes, but for those who prefer their bile in unadulterated doses the DVD version of Veber’s film (in French with subtitles) is readily available.
“The Dinner Game” serves up a satisfying scenario in which the idiots turn the tables on the jerks.
The story rests on a deliciously wicked premise. Every Wednesday, a group of snooty Paris businessmen stages an elaborate dinner party. The chief entertainment? Each diner is charged with bringing a guest, “a grade-A idiot,” whose witless foibles are intended to provide the evening’s amusement for the snide hosts. The winner is the man who invites the biggest dolt.
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