Melvin Goes to Dinner
Film poster
Directed byBob Odenkirk
Written byMichael Blieden
Based onPhyro-Giants!
by Michael Blieden
Produced by
  • Naomi Odenkirk
  • DJ Paul
  • Jeff Sussman
StarringMichael Blieden
Stephanie Courtney
Matt Price
Annabelle Gurwitch
Kathleen Roll
Maura Tierney
Jenna Fischer
Jack Black
Music byMichael Penn
Distributed byArrival Pictures
Release date
  • January 2003 (2003-01) (Slamdance)[1]
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4,168[2]

Melvin Goes to Dinner is a 2003 American film adaptation of Michael Blieden's stage play Phyro-Giants!, directed by Bob Odenkirk. Blieden wrote the screenplay from his stage play, and he also stars in the film (as he did in the Los Angeles stage production),[3] along with Stephanie Courtney, Matt Price and Annabelle Gurwitch. The film premiered at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival.[4]


Former medical student Melvin has dropped out and now works (after a fashion) in a planning office of an unnamed city. The office supervisor is his big sister, who "mothers" him instead of making him perform well. Melvin accidentally makes telephone contact with an old friend, and they decide to meet for dinner that evening. The friend arrives early for drinks with a lady friend; by the appointed time, four people are involved, each connected somehow to at least one of the others. The evening passes in a leisurely dinner with much conversation, sometimes intimate; the connections among the parties are revealed throughout the evening. The movie includes several flashbacks, which are not immediately explained but become understandable by the end.


Several notable people appeared as extras in the film, including Kristen Wiig, Bill Odenkirk, Daisy Gardner, Allan Havey, Nathan Odenkirk (son of Bob and Naomi Odenkirk), Scott Adsit, Wendy Rae Fowler, Tucker Smallwood, B. J. Porter, James Gunn, and Marc Evan Jackson.


Michael Penn wrote the music for the film.[5] The film won the Audience Award at the 2003 South by Southwest Film Festival[6] and the Best Picture and Best Ensemble Awards at the Phoenix Film Festival.[7]

The movie uses many actors who are mainliners in other television productions, such as Odenkirk's former Mr. Show co-star David Cross as a self-help seminar leader.[8] However, the main characters are all played by the stage actors who performed in the Los Angeles stage production on which the screenplay is based.[5]

Odenkirk also directed a short film that was included on the Melvin Goes to Dinner DVD release, The Frank International Film Festival. It portrayed the screening of Melvin Goes to Dinner at a (fictional) film festival organized by a cinephile named Frank (Fred Armisen) who hosts the festival at the home he shares with his mother.[9]


On Rotten Tomatoes, Melvin Goes to Dinner has an approval rating of 100% based on 12 reviews.[10]

Marjorie Baumgarten of The Austin Chronicle wrote Odenkirk "shows real skill with the gradual manner in which he allows this story to evolve", and that the "movie should inspire viewers to call up old friends, order a bottle of wine, and talk the night away."[8]


  1. ^ "Slamdance Stays True To Its Roots". January 24, 2003. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  2. ^ "Melvin Goes to Dinner (2003) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Melvin Goes to Dinner DVD, Bonus Features section, accessed 30 August 2009
  4. ^ "Slamdance Stays True To Its Roots". IndieWire. January 24, 2003. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Bob Odenkirk on directing "Melvin Goes to Dinner"". Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  6. ^ "SXSW Gives "Sexless" and "Happy Here and Now" Awards for 10th Anniversary Film Fest". IndieWire. March 13, 2003. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  7. ^ "Awards". Phoenix Film Festival. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Baumgarten, Marjorie (July 11, 2003). "Melvin Goes to Dinner". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  9. ^ "Melvin Goes to Dinner". DVD Journal. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Melvin Goes to Dinner". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 27, 2022.