The Shmooze

Are Steve Carell and Paul Rudd Schmucks?

By Devra Ferst

  • Print
  • Share Share

Paul Rudd and Steve Carell will be united once again in bro-mance in the upcoming “Dinner for Schmucks,” due out this July, according to an article in yesterday’s New York Times.

The movie, which will be directed by Jay Roach of “Meet the Fockers” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” is inspired by the 1998 French film “Le Diner de Cons” (essentially, “The Dinner for Assholes”). It follows the unlikely friendship between Rudd, an executive who nearly has it all, and Carell, an eccentric and clumsy IRS employee who creates dead mice dioramas for fun. Rudd plans to bring Carell to his boss’s annual “Dinner for Extraordinary People,” where the employee who brings the lamest and strangest guest to dinner is rewarded at the office.

But the movie’s title, which uses the a word more likely to be seen “Yiddish Sayings Mama Never Taught You” than in Leo Rosten’s famous “The Joys of Yiddish,” has put some writers and editors at the country’s most esteemed — and perhaps proper — paper in an in awkward positions. Resulting in a serious and utterly ironic attempt to penetrate the true meaning of the title, and whether or not it’s appropriate:

“Those familiar with Yiddish, polite and otherwise, will recognize a rude term that — in one of its several layers of meaning — denotes the penis,” Michael Cieply wrote in the Times article. He added: “Delve a little deeper and you also find the German term for ‘decoration,’ from the Middle High German ‘smucken,’ meaning ‘to press into.’”

The Times goes on to give a history of the word and to quote a film critic who suggests what she feels are more appropriate titles, like “Dinner for Schlemiels.”

Either way, we’re looking forward to watching Carell and Rudd act like schmucks on screen, because they do it oh so well.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yiddish, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Meet the Fockers, New York Times, Jay Roach, Dinner for Schmucks

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.