Friday, August 13, 2010

‘Dinner for Schmucks’ - a notch above the original (IANS Movie Review)

Film: “Dinner for Schmucks”; Director: Jay Roach; Cast: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, Jemaine Clement; Rating: *** and 1/2Remakes are never easy. There is high expectation and the need to stick to the original idea and yet go beyond it. “Dinner For Schmucks” not only manages to rise to the humour and pace of the original, it manages to do one better.To get a promotion in his firm, high-flying investment advisor Tim (Paul Rudd) has to play the games of his peers i.e. find and invite an absolute idiot for dinner where he would be made fun of. His girlfriend despises the idea but when Barry (Steve Carell) - an absolute idiot - lands up before him, he sees this as destiny and decides to take him to dinner.What he does not know is that the simple, honest, childlike man with a hobby of making ‘mouseterpieces’ will remind him of what is truly valuable in life, simple old school honesty and friendship.Though many loyal fans of the 1998 French original “Le Dinner de Cons” may not agree, “Dinner for Schmucks” is actually an improvement on the original. While the original was mostly a ‘fall-on-banana-peel-humour’ film, without much semblance of an idea, ‘Dinner…’ has a soul.The film states that it is not always the one who seems like an idiot who is actually the idiot and that often the joke is on the one laughing at others.“Dinner…” make this point emotionally, albeit a little louder and with many twists to the original film, thus enabling it the title of a ‘remake’ instead of a ‘copy’ which the Bollywood film “Bheja Fry”, ‘inspired’ by the same French original, was.It paints the world of the rich and famous as a fragile one which the injection of a little honesty from a ’schmuck’ shatters.Even the minor characters - like the world-famous painter who in his own way is an idiot, but whom the world celebrates as an ‘artist’, makes the same point.Steve Carrel plays the role of the lovable schmuck with a timing that leaves the audience in splits. The timing and comic sense of choosy director Jay Roach who has earlier given us loveable comedies as “Meet The Parents” and “Meet The Fockers”, is equally good. The sub plots are handled well.“Dinner…” makes comments on a society that is quick to judge but dimwitted enough not to know what is truly admirable. The ones running after things that they can easily do without, are the real schmucks.Though comparison with the original would not be entirely fair, even if you do that, “Dinner…” scores, for rarely does a remake takes up the analogy of the original, and build it so beautifully.

Blackberry seeks fresh appointment with Home Ministry

New Delhi, Aug.13 (ANI): Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has reportedly sough a fresh appointment with the government, which has been asking the smartphone vendor to provide access to email and messenger data or face ban.RIM Vice President has reportedly sought another meeting, even though sources in the government have said that no time has been allotted yet.Meanwhile, RIM has said it would allow Indian security agencies only to do legal monitoring of data of its subscribers."The only time it allows carriers to access the data sent via BlackBerry devices is in the case of national security situations, and even then, only as governed by the country''s judicial oversight and rules of law," the Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM) said in a statement yesterday.India has threatened to shut down Blackberry e-mail and instant messaging services by August 31, unless RIM granted security agencies the technology to decrypt Blackberry communications, citing national security concerns.Although some experts have opined that RIM''s decision to only allow access to its data when ordered to do so by a judge might be problematic in certain countries where the judiciary is less than impartial, the company said that it maintains a "consistent global standard for lawful access requirements that does not include special deals for specific countries"."Although RIM cannot disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with any government, RIM assures its customers that it genuinely tries to be as cooperative as possible with governments in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations," RIM said.Any technical capabilities that RIM would give to a carrier that would allow for the legal monitoring of BlackBerry messages would have to be "technology and vendor neutral," the company said, an indication that RIM is not willing to allow foreign governments to access data sent using BlackBerrys that security agencies in those countries wouldn''t already be able to monitor if it were sent from smartphones made by competing manufacturers.India''s ultimatum was issued hours after senior officials from government, intelligence and state-run telecom operators met to discuss how to gain access to BlackBerry content."If a technical solution is not provided by 31st August, 2010, the Government will review the position and take steps to block these two services from the network," a government spokesperson had said.India wants access in a readable format to encrypted BlackBerry communication, on grounds it could be used by militants. There are an estimated one million BlackBerry subscribers in the country. (ANI)