Dinner for Schmucks Should Probably Be Titled Dinner for Schlemiels


In vernacular American English, "schmuck" has come to mean a jerk or an asshole. In Yiddish, "schmuck" means penis. (Also jerk and asshole; it's more or less synonymous with "dick.") Thus, the new Steve Carell and Paul Rudd comedy directed by Jay Roach, Dinner for Schmucks, is, to some Yiddish speakers, more or less named Dinner for Penises. Today, the Times launches a hilarious, deadpan investigation into the complexities of such a title, wondering whether it will bother the MPAA (probably not), or offend rabbis (probably not), while also contemplating what it will be changed to in Turkey (maybe Dinner for Schmoes?). The Times also considers the possibility that "schmuck" is the wrong word altogether, suggesting the movie might more aptly be titled Dinner for Schlemiels, Dinner for Shmendriks, or Dinner for Shlimazls, inaugurating what we imagine is the hot game being played this very second on shuffleboard courts all around Boca Raton. Please be advised: Make your grandmother watch the trailer before you take her to this movie, no matter how much she says she wants to see it now.

Much Movie Title Meshugas [NYT]