Paul Rudd and Steve Carell star in this mediocre comedy about a man torn between his humanity and career. The film which is mainly marketed as a silly frilly comedy offers a few heart clenching and chill-inducing moments created wonderfully by Carell who has really made a career out of making the weirdest characters loveable and relatable. The film also has its fair share of stupid and silly jokes though, many of which are way too childish to truly enjoy. Supporting Rudd and Carell, there’s a supporting cast of dislikeable characters all around. So the film is a flurry of pros and cons.
Paul Rudd plays the classic character who needs to choose between his egoistic tendencies or his relationship with his new friend as well as his girlfriend. Rudd plays the part with decent conviction and manages to stick out as one of the more likeable characters in this film. Steve Carell plays the quirky and adorable anthropologist– I think– who befriends Rudd’s character. Carell makes this otherwise weird character such a beautifully emotional character who has a couple of almost-tear-jerking and chill-inducing scenes. Rudd and Carell have little to no on screen chemistry; I would argue there is no tangible chemistry until the very end of the film, which is really not how it should work.
Zach Galifianakis also appears in this film as an outlandish tax collector– or something– who really ads nothing positive to the film, but rather undercuts Carell’s performance. Stephanie Szostak plays Rudd’s girlfriend in the most stale and dry of everybody in the film, and sure the character itself is already bored and cliche, but Szostak does absolutely nothing to spice the character up. Lucy Punch plays Rudd’s ex-girlfriend, and let me just tell you that this leads to some of the most awkward and uncomfortable scenes I’ve seen in a long time. Jemaine Clement plays the painter, Kieran, and is fairly funny and has a handful of scenes in which he gets to shine in the comedic spotlight.
The story itself is fairly unoriginal and does not offer many twists or turns or unexpected situations, but rather follows a simple yet proven formula. The story throws Rudd’s character into the crossfire between his social life and his career and the turnout is absolutely expected. The film relies heavily on inappropriate and tired gags that are neither funny nor entertaining, but the film has a handful of interesting characters but also its fair share of over-the-top and unbelievable characters. The film has some decent production design which stands out in a fair handful of scenes that are visually appealing and interesting to watch.
Overall this is one of the better films within the 2000s gag-based comedy films, as this movie has a nice premise and one very likeable leading actor, Steve Carell, who blows a fresh a gale into the genre. Paul Rudd is pretty good, but Carell is really truly amazing. Otherwise the film has a couple of dislikable supporting actors who do their bid, but don’t make themselves especially captivating. The story is simple, but the film is handsome and it’s a fun watch if you have ninety minutes to kill.
Best Aspect- Steve Carell
Worst Aspect- Lucy Punch