A dinner that rarely delivers on its main course…
It’s always a joy to witness Steve Coogan around a dinner table. After all, in recent times, he’s enthralled us with his impressions and random chatter with Rob Brydon in the brilliant The Trip, but his latest venture is a very different animal in the form of The Dinner, from director Oren Moverman (Rampart, The Messenger).
While Coogan’s dinner with his close friend is a tasty treat, The Dinner is something very different, with the Brit joined at the table by Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall. The film focuses on the quartet meeting for a civilised dinner that soon turns into something much removed from the initial pleasantries and sips of wine. Coogan plays an uptight teacher frustrated and irked by his elder brother, Stan’s (Gere) political celebrity status and is joined by his wife (Linney) and the wife of Stan (Hall).
As the introduction of each course comes, it’s clear that this is a quartet with multiple issues and, as the film progresses, tempers fly, anger rages and every emotion possible comes flooding in with this particular dinner turning very sour.
With such brilliantly talented actors combined together and an accomplished director behind the camera, the assumption would be there in all its clearness that The Dinner should be a success. But while there is a certain level of chemistry bubbling under the surface during the proceedings, it’s fair to say that The Dinner lacks that fizz you’d expect from the fancy quartet and instead feels like a flat, melodramatic movie that would be better served in different circumstances.
While Gere certainly feels like the leading man in the film, Coogan often leaves us feeling like we should be getting much more, and both Linney and Hall have so much more talent than what they are given. In comparison, a similar film such as Roman Polanski’s Carnage comes out with much more entertainment factor than Moverman’s evolving argument drama. A missed opportunity on all accounts.
The Dinner is our in UK cinemas on 8th December.