Friday, September 4, 2009

Death at a Funeral (2007)


DEATH AT A FUNERAL
DIRECTED BY: FRANK OZ
WRITTEN BY: DEAN CRAIG
OVERALL SCORE: 7.25/10


While hosting the service for his father's funeral, well meaning Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen), must contend with his over achieving writer brother, Robert (Rupert Graves), and his father's dwarf gay lover who is trying to blackmail the family out of 15,000pounds. Meanwhile Daniel's cousin Martha (Daisy Donovan) is trying to help her fiancee Simon (Alan Tudyk) impress her father as they intend to get married, only one problem... earlier that day Simon accidentally took acid.

I really want to see Death at a Funeral when it first came out, it just looked like a dark funny film. The initial reviews I read were all great, but when it came out on DVD I just never got around to watching it. Well now I have, and I can say I'm thankful that I did. Filled with a variety of gags, some clever and some obvious, Death at a Funeral is a hilarious affair with plenty of witty humor to go around.

As a director Frank Oz has been a trial and error with solid films, such as The Score, good comedies, such as In & Out, and some down right dreadful attempts, such as The Stepford Wives remake. Overall though his dark sense of humor tends to come out rather nicely, and is put well on display in Death at a Funeral. As a director Oz is nothing special, but he does what the best directors do, they make the script as good as it can be.

Dean Craig's script isn't anything special in and of itself, but rather wonderfully combines a series of old gags, cliche characters, and puts them into situations that create a great overall laugh factor. Some laughs are slapstick, some are awkward, and some are just perfectly designed situational character driven by actors perfectly suited for their roles.

I might be a bit biased but I would argue that Alan Tudyk is a heck of a scene stealer as the acid induced Simon. Off the wall, creatively goofy, and random I couldn't wait to see what he did next. While established B, and up and coming, actors settle in nicely to their roles, making for an overall fun, even if a bit disturbingly so film. Death at a Funeral is a highlight to all the things that make dysfunctional family comedies so much fun to laugh both at, and with.

Hilarious, absurd, and well worth the viewing, Death at a Funeral is definitely on the upper end of Oz's directorial career.


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In related news, it seems Neil LaBute, based on a screenplay by Chris Rock and Aeysha Carr, will be making a remake of the 2007 British comedy for American audiences. Reportedly the movie will be shifted from a white British family to an African-American family. The remake will star Zoe Saldana, James Marsden, Luke Wilson, Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock, Danny Glover, and Peter Dinklage (who was in the original).

3 better thoughts:

The Mad Hatter said...

Funny that we both happened to be watching and writing about this film at the same time!

I really loved this movie, and the fact that it's built around smaller names that are all genuinely funny actors is what I think makes it work so well.

Great piece, although you omitted one of Oz's funniest films - bowfinger.

Univarn said...

Ah yeah I debated between In & Out and Bowfinger for which comedy I was going to reference. Settled on In & Out because I found it more memorable. Though the pure absurdity of Bowfinger is near priceless.

free movie downloads said...

I found this to be the funniest movie that I have seen after so long. It made me laugh from beginning to end and I truly enjoyed this movie. Will definitely buy a DVD too of this great comedy movie.

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