Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / The Dinner Game

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/00000_000001_copie2_4.jpg
Advertisement:

Every Wednesday, French editor Pierre Brochant and some of his friends organize a very special dinner: a "dîner de cons" (Literally: "Dinner of shmucks"), where whoever brings the dumbest guest wins.

Desperate to find a suitable candidate for the week, Brochant invites a friend's recommendation: François Pignon, a taxman who build models out of matchsticks and seems like "a real winner". Unfortunately, Brochant hadn't exactly counted on the fact that on the evening of the dinner, he'd have thrown his back playing golf, his wife would have left him and he'd be stuck at home, alone with Pignon...

A 1998 French comedy directed and written by Francis Veber, Le dîner de cons (The Dinner Game) was a financial and critical success in France and in the United Kingdom. Based on Veber's long-running play of the same name, the movie won Best Scenario, Best Actor and Best 2nd Actor at the Césars Awards. It remains a cult movie in France and one of the late Jacques Villeret's most beloved roles.

Advertisement:

It was remade in America as Dinner for Schmucks.


Examples

  • An Aesop: Don't brush off people as 'dumb'.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Pignon calls Leblanc as a Belgian film producer to get informations on Brochant's wife. He ends up hanging up without any information on the wife - but he sure is going to get the movie rights for cheap.
  • Black Comedy: Only lightly.
  • The Casanova: Pascal Meneaux has this reputation, so Pierre Brochant is very worried when he thinks that his wife is in his flat. This reputation is justified: he has sex with the wife of his tax inspector, Lucien Cheval.
  • Country Matters: The literal translation of "diner de cons" is, well, let's say it's something slightly ruder than "schmuck". The French word con is now (almost) only used to mean an idiot/moron, but its mainly-forgotten actual meaning is much more offensive in English. (Of course, the actual meaning of "schmuck" is the male equivalent, so the translated title is perfectly appropriate).
  • Advertisement:
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": Brochant hurts his back playing golf, and spends most of the film nursing his back injury. Said injury is what prevents him from taking Pignon to the dinner in the first place.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: Although there's not really a way to make the joke work in English; Sasseur is a perfectly plausible name. "Hissister"... not so much.
  • The Ditz: Pignon
  • Dramatic Irony: Pignon takes a woman from Pierre Brochant's flat. Pignon thinks that she is Marlène Sasseur, but the audience knows that she is actually Brochant's wife. Pignon and Brochant will realize this mistake only when the real Marlène Sasseur shows up.
  • Driven to Suicide: Marlène threatens to commit suicide if Pignon hangs up the phone.
  • Dumb Is Good: Pignon is a well-intentioned idiot with a sometimes heartwarming compassion for people he's barely met, Brochant is a smug intellectual snob who mistreats his closest friends.
  • False Reassurance: When Brochant tells a friend on the phone that Pignon "looks like a real winner" ("Il a une belle tête de vainqueur"). Pignon sees it as proof that he's going to get a book deal. Brochant knows his friends thinks about the dinner.
    • This phrase has undergone Memetic Mutation in France, where it's now used for saying someone looks dumb/uneducated/redneck/etc.
  • The Film of the Play: A faithful adaptation of the 1993 play of the same name. Jacques Villeret takes up again his stage role.
  • Here We Go Again!: After the moral of the story and Pignon managing to fix everything in the span of several minutes, he manages to piss off Brochant's wife again by accidentally implying Brochant was feeding him lines.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: The reason why the music for Cheval's arrival is the theme from Jaws
  • Jerkass: Pierre Brochant, all the way
  • The Klutz: François Pignon.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Brochant is a jerkass. He stole his friend's wife. He cheated on her. He rejects his mistress. Oh, and his hobby is to make fun of people who are idiots in his opinion. In the end, he has thrown his back, his wife left him, his mistress does not want to meet him again, and his incomes will be controlled by the Ministry of Finance. Subverted, because Pignon decides to help him even if he knows why Brochant invited him and he manages to reconcile Brochant and his wife. Double subverted, because finally Pignon ruins everything.
  • Lethal Chef: Brochant, when he tries to turn his expensive wine into lower quality claret. Amusingly, he actually makes it better, before making it worse
  • Love Triangle: Brochant stole Leblanc's wife. Pignon's wife was stolen by one of his colleagues.
  • Mistaken Identity: Pignon mistakes Brochant's wife for Marlène Sasseur.
  • The Mistress: Marlène Sasseur has been Pierre Brochant's mistress for 2 years.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Christine Brochant, Juste Leblanc, and Marlène Sasseur are all writers. Pierre Brochant is a publisher.
  • Nice Guy: Pignon.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Pignon's Belgian accent, when Juste asks him a question he doesn't expect.
  • Prank Date: Dr Sorbier explains that, when he was a student, he participated in "Dogfight" prank dates. Each participant had to bring the ugliest date. He notes the similarity with the dinner game, which is a non-romantic version of the prank date.
  • Punny Name: Juste Leblanc.
    • Also, Marlène Sasseur
  • Red-and-White Comedy Poster: See the poster here above.
  • The Remake: Dinner for Schmucks
  • Rule of Symbolism: The opening scene shows someone throwing a boomerang. The boomerang comes back and hits the thrower in the face. This is a symbol of the fate of Brochant, who intends to make fun of Pignon, but will suffer from the effects of his own joke.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Brochant and his friends are much wealthier than the people they make fun of. Their different lifestyles are emphasized: for example, Pignon and Cheval enjoy watching a popular sport like soccer, whereas Brochant plays golf.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Pignon seems to be really stupid, but in the end he manages to reconcile Brochant and his wife. Subverted, because he ruins everything shortly after.
  • Spanner in the Works: Pignon ruins Brochant's plans. First, he falls on Brochant, so Brochant's back still hurts more. Then, he calls Marlène Sasseur instead of Dr Sorbier. And this is just the beginning of the film.
  • Tough Room: Brochant's reaction to Cheval's jokes when he thinks his wife is at Meneaux's.
  • Truth in Television: Veber wrote the play when he heard about dinners of the kind being actually organized by Parisian snobs.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: main character Brochant takes part in the dinners, stole his best friend's wife, cheated on her for two years, and now refuses to acknowledge his mistress' existence. This is lampshaded in the end by Brochant, who, while trying to commit suicide, moans about how everyone hates him and that even an idiot like Pignon will hate "meanie Brochant".
  • Unwanted Assistance: Brochant thinks this of Pignon, after he's managed to fall on him.
  • Who's on First?:
    • Actually a plot point, when Pignon thinks Marlène is Brochant's sister because her name is Sasseur ("His sister").
    • And later, when he's told Leblanc's name is "Juste Leblanc"; "He doesn't have a first name?"
      "Votre nom à vous c'est François, c'est juste? Eh bien, lui, c'est pareil, c'est Juste."
      Badly translated (juste in French can mean both right and only) ''"Your name, it's François, it's right? Well, him, that's the same, it's Right".
  • With Friends Like These...:
    • Brochant is Leblanc's friend, but he steals his wife.
    • Pignon to Brochant, at least in the first part of the movie, when he tries to help him and makes everything worse.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Pierre Brochant cheated on his wife Christine with Marlène Sasseur.
    • Cheval's wife cheated on her husband with Pascal Meneaux.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report