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(2010), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 55min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 14, 2010
January 18, 2010

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Christian Long Distance

(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG-13 [R-13*] ... a noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Spyglass Entertainment, Parkes/MacDonald Productions, Everyman Pictures
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Jay Roach
Producer(s): Gary Barber, Sacha Baron Cohen, Roger Birnbaum, Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Jon Poll, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Francis Veber
Writing Credits: Screenplay - David Guion, Michael Handelman; Film LaDiner de Cons - Francis Verber
Cinematography/Camera: Jim Denault
Music: Theodore Shapiro
Film Editing: Alan Baumgarten, Jon Poll
Casting: Nicole Abellera, Jeanne McCarthy
Production Design: Michael Corenblith
Art Direction: Christopher Burian-Mohr, Lauren E. Polizzi
Viewed on Paramount Home Entertainment DVD

If there is to be at least one good thing come from analysis of this film it is how to spell "dinner." For a long time I have had trouble with whether there is one "n" or two. "Diner?" "Dinner?" When I sat and thought about it I could always figure it out since double consonants always call for the short sound of the preceding vowel. But now, having typed the word a few times under its proper use I suspect I won't have any trubble any more. :-)

Maybe another "good thing" from this analysis effort was learning just what "schmuck" means. I've heard it used in context and could draw a good idea of its meaning but I have not until today had any need to know precisely what it meant. But now, because of this analysis, I do. Goodie! On to the analysis.

The film starts with a few delightful minutes of a skilled artist creating male and female figurines with dead mice then setting them in a number of romantic and serene arrays such as in a row boat, on a tree swing, in an aerial balloon, on a foot bridge and in a juggling act. Truly a few moments of beautiful and colorful scenery and attention to detail. All this is set to the background music by the Beatles' "Fool on the Hill." But as to be expected of a PG-13 film all this pleasant display is shattered toward the end of the sequence with one scene of a male and female mouse on a picnic blanket -- she nude from the waist up. Then the serenity is shattered further with a scene of a male and female mouse, each with his and her hand on the buttocks of the other. There is set the stage for the rest of the story. I cannot believe this is Blockbuster's #1 rental for this week. Or any week. There is little to no entertainment value to this film at all ... for the first hour or so anyway. But that is a subjective comment .. one by which I will stand.

Up and coming "stockbroker" Tim Conrad (Paul Rudd) has been invited by the company boss, Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) of Fender Financial to a special and exclusive dinner, a "dinner for winners" because of Tim's success with an innovative creation of a unique way to win a $100,000,000 account. At that dinner the company execs are expected to invite a "remarkable person" -- a victim, an idiot, a schmuck -- whom the rest of the attendees can ridicule and vote on as the biggest idiot. One of the previous dinner victims claimed to have developed an Iron Man™ suit which he demonstrated at that dinner ... a demonstration that failed of course but provided humor for the financial piranha attending the dinner.

Conrad finds his idiot in the person of Barry Speck (Steve Carell). Conrad found Speck by hitting Speck with his car as Speck tried to fetch a dead mouse off the street. Speck is the artisan who made all the mouse scenes at the beginning of the show. Speck is truly odd to most people. He is bothersome and a pest. But he is genuine.

There is little benefit in summarizing any further the plot and story as faint as they were. While most of the film is stupid, ridiculous and even vulgar at times, toward the end of the show some pleasant and noble content is presented. But realize that an ignoble path does not excuse a noble destination.

I am going to sneak in a little sermon here. A sermon about sexual purity. God advises us in so many ways so many times in His Book -- front to back -- that any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful. That includes cohabitation, i.e., when a man and a woman live together unmarried. [1 Cor. 7:1 - 2, 9; Deut. 22:29] Tim and his girlfriend, Julie (Stephanie Szostak) lived together before marriage. I know it is politically incorrect to say anything against a man and a woman living together unmarried since cohabitation before marriage is so widely practiced today, but I did not write the Rules. The One who spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there did. So, cohabitation is sinful. But God, knowing of our sinful nature, established the ground Rules. Any man and woman who cohabitate while not married are to get married to atone for their sin of cohabitation. Be careful with that, though. It is inadvisable for one to say to him/herself "We'll go ahead and have our fun then get married later." "Later" may not come.

Now I will get to that for which most of our users come to our pages.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 83 out of 100
This film presents a non-violent face but some matters of the violent nature might warrant your attention. A breaking and entering, illegal government activity, an episode of vandalism and some action violence add to the violence picture but of most concern might be the finger amputation and the threat to kill. All violence adds up and can tend to lead the decision-making skills of the observer onto a path that is not good. God says so in Prov. 16:29.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 36 out of 100
Thirteen times someone utters profanity, including an additional use of the most foul of the foul words plus a muffled version of it. Language is how we communicate and abuse of it communicates impudence and arrogance. [Col. 3:8, Prov. 22:11, Prov. 8:13, Eph. 4:29]. Many scoff at we who refuse use profanity and try to excuse their use of it with grasps at justification such as "They are just words. Where's the harm!?" Be not deceived my friends. [2Pet. 3:3] Note that the freedom of speech n-e-v-e-r addressed profanity until ten ex-hippies in long robes ("false teachers" who despise God's Authority) decided to change God's Truth into a lie about foul language. [2Pet. 2:1 - 14. Read this Scripture application if you dare.]

Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
While there is no nudity nor is a man and woman seen in bed together, it does not take such display to make a film ooze with sexual immorality. Innuendo about sexual activities and private anatomy can be as morally corrosive as direct display, especially when there are so m-a-n-y innuendo as in this film. While most two year olds and even five year olds won't have a clue about the meaning behind most innuendo, don't for one second think the average 13 year old does not know the meanings. When such innuendo as are frequent in this film are augmented by more direct demonstrations and displays of a sexual nature the impact is amplified. There you have Dinner for Schmucks. Rather than trying to summarize the sexual content of this film here with a few examples of the many items of sexual immorality (immorality by His Word, not mine nor yours), please look to the listing of findings in the Findings/Scoring section. It provides a full accounting of the sexual content of this film. [1Thess. 4:1 - 7]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 77 out of 100
As with most PG-13 movies, the writers seem to think the average 13 year old is quite capable of avoiding emboldenment to drink even when it is portrayed as responsibly consumed and just as a social beverage. Wrong! At least so sayeth the American College of Physicians (ACP). And I agree with the ACP. You should, too.

A 2002 study by the ACP revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.
    Can that be said any better? [Luke 1:15, Prov. 20:1, Eph. 5:18]

    Offense to God (O) - 0 out of 100
    God's name is uttered in vain 28 times and each time without the four letter expletive. But does leaving off the four letter expletive excuse abuse of His name? Since you've asked, I'll tell you. No. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than in prayer, with respect or reverence or in responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus/Christ when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" or "I was quoting" will not work with God. God is so adamant about abuse of His name that s/he who speaks His name in vain will not be held guiltless. [Deut. 5:11]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There were no murders or suicides noted in the entire 115 minutes of the film.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • 1 Cor. 7:1-2 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. ["Not to touch..." God is wise to rationalizations of man. "Touch" is haptomai {hap'-tom-ahee}; to touch; of carnal intercourse with a woman or cohabitation.]
  • 1Cor. 7:9 But if they cannot contain [exhibit self-control, be continent], let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
  • Deut. 22:29 [The man who has immoral sex with a woman] shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. [Paraphrased, if a couple have sex before marriage, they must marry and stay married for the rest of their lives. This verse speak to the woman being a virgin, but every women starts out a virgin ... until some male lays with her. So, whether the woman who is to be the sexual partner of a man is a virgin or not, she once was and this verse applies to someone. And everyone is "someone" at some point in his life. If all "someones" honored this verse, there would be no teen unmarried pregnancies or rapes or any other sins of carnal intercourse.]
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" ["man" here is enowsh {en-oshe"}: man (collective), mortal, person, mankind; contracted for iysh {eesh}: whosoever, each] can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not since the cinematic display is at the hands men and women, in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil or the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], and filthy language [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene speech] from your lips.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Prov. 8:13 The fear [yirah: respect, reverence, piety] of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. ["Froward" is tahpukah: perversity, perverse thing. "Perverse" is iqqesh: aside from the right path, corrupt, twisted, distorted, crooked. "Froward mouth" then includes perverse, profane (bebelos: unhallowed, ungodly) speech. And arrogance is what emboldens and propels one to use profane speech.]
  • Eph. 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
  • 2Pet. 3:3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
  • 2Pet. 2:1 - 14 (NIV) But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you [KJV says "make merchandise of you"] with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to Hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men [or women] are not afraid to slander celestial beings [doxa: God's majesty, things of or belonging to God; KJV says "dignities]; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord [who is omnipresent]. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done [see Luke 17:2]. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed-an accursed brood!
  • 1Ths. 4:1-5 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified [hagiasmos: purified in your heart and life]: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, lusting (even after images), speech, promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them. Be not a seeker of any manner of sexually-oriented imagery or behavior outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. For any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. [Speaking is the angel that appeared to Zechariah, promising Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth a son - John the Baptist, but it also says that not drinking alcoholic beverages at all will find favor in the eyes of the Lord. Though it is not a sin to drink, God knows of our tendency to excess. And the "strong drink" of Jesus' day was less potent than our cheap wine. What does that say about our liquor of up to 75% alcohol (150 proof)?]
  • Prov. 20:1 Wine [beer, mixed wine, any intoxicating substance] is a mocker [to make scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly], strong drink [pure wine in the Bible days] is raging [cause to be disquieted, be in an uproar]: and whosoever is deceived thereby [caused to go astray by it, believes otherwise] is not wise. [If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why would there be and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV?]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive.]
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [any session or assembly or people deliberating or adjudicating]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Dinner for Schmucks (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 83 out of 100
  • breaking and entering, once
  • illegal government activity
  • vandalism
  • action violence
  • finger amputation with repeated views of it
  • threat to kill

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 36 out of 100
  • 13 uses of profanity
  • two uses of the most foul of the foul words with one of them muffled
  • ordering another to lie
  • fraud with sexual coercion
  • snooping of private property
  • lie

    Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
  • depiction of inappropriate touch and nudity with figurines
  • talk of finding sex
  • vulgar paintings
  • conversation re: oral sex for money
  • vulgar gesture
  • cohabitation
  • repeated views of woman's posterior in scant underwear
  • camera angle and/or pose to force viewer on private parts
  • talk of sex and/or sexual behaviors, frequent
  • pelvic thrusts
  • exposure to below navel skin threatening to expose that which follows
  • repeated views of two women wearing only body paint
  • repeated views of a man wearing only feathers to conveniently hide genitals
  • vulgar sex talk, repeatedly
  • sadomasochistic dress, repeatedly
  • vulgar sex games with no nudity but with vulgar talk
  • anatomical reference, repeatedly
  • vulgar art
  • inappropriate touch, male of female
  • sexual innuendo, repeatedly
  • adult in underwear
  • figuring poses of sexually immoral activity
  • licking kissing
  • dressing to maximize the human form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • sex doll, repeatedly
  • portrayal of vulgar sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 77 out of 100
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 28 uses of God's name in vain but all without the four letter expletive
  • mocking of God and faith
  • "God can't hear him"
  • communicating with the dead
  • use of "Fool", repeatedly [Matt. 5:22]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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