The Dinner

The only way to see this movie is after you are drugged at a dentist’s office and waiting for a root canal.

The DinnerI went to see Director Oren Moverman’s The Dinner with great expectations only to leave the theater crushed and embarrassed. Despite a wonderful cast, it will compete for recognition as the worst film to be released in 2017.

When the film suddenly ended with a question central to the plot left unanswered, numerous members of the audience were left sarcastically sneering in disbelief. As I left my seat, I turned and faced all of them saying,

“Good God, we just wasted two hours!” Let me say that most laughed while nodding their heads.

While even a summary of the plot will likely bore you to the edge of death, the film tells a convoluted story centering around a dinner at a very fancy French restaurant. Stan Lohman (Richard Gere in a role where he looks bored in every scene) invites his estranged younger brother and his wife to a meeting where they will try to decide the necessity of revealing to the public a hideous criminal act committed by their sons.

But things are continually going to hell in an hand-basket at every moment of this forgettable movie. To begin with, each scene begins with the head chef publicly describing the next dinner course. On top of that, the dinner conversation is constantly interrupted with family members individually leaving the table for reasons that are far too ridiculous to describe.

Regardless, Mr. Lohman is a popular congressman running for governor, and his second wife Katelyn is a hard-nosed woman who is not about to let her husband throw his career away to her detriment. Katelyn is played by the very special Rebecca Hall, and she remains one of my favorite actresses. For those in doubt, I can only urge you to see her in both The Gift (2015) and the very special Closed Circuit (2013).

Yet what is most disappointing about this movie is the role forced upon Steve Coogan, playing Paul, the Congressman’s emotionally distressed brother. A school teacher, it is clear from the beginning that he is mentally ill, and flashbacks concerning some of his absurd approaches with his class leaves you looking at your watch and wondering how much longer this cinematic crap is going to last.

Also lost in this superficial miasma is the talented Laura Linney, who plays Coogan’s wife Claire. Unfortunately, her love for a son that she wants to save despite his despicable actions loses any credibility as you are left wondering why she bothers to stay with her idiot husband.

Let me close by noting that there was one good thing to this absurd movie. For those of you in doubt, let this review serve as proof that I will occasionally go to a movie that I don’t like.