Death at a Funeral

2010-06-21 10:55
 
Death at a Funeral

What it's about:

Edward Barnes has passed away. His eldest son, the hardworking Aaron (Chris Rock) is burying him today and is giving the eulogy, despite his younger brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence) being "the writer in the family". This is just the most recent of Aaron's troubles, as he and his wife are trying to buy a house and have a baby with very little success. As the rest of the family begin to arrive, things start going off course. Cousin Elaine (Zoe Saldana) arrives with her accidentally drugged boyfriend Oscar (James Marsden), Ryan arrives broke despite promising to help pay for the funeral and some guy named Frank shows up with some secrets in his pocket.

What we thought of it:

Remakes are iffy territory. Taking on the weird knacks of British comedy is really putting yourself out there. And it paid off. This remake of the 2007 British film of the same name is better than the original.

I quite enjoyed the original, but it lacked pace and immediate gags to keep the audience interested through the dark moments. This is where director Neil LaBute really cashed in. The characters' names have changed, but otherwise the storyline is pretty much the same. Writer Dean Craig was sure to modernise the script with references to Twitter and Facebook. It's cute details like this that make all the difference.

While Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence are the comedy heavyweights, as grieving brothers they aren't as funny as we know them to be. It's a pity that the final eulogy is lifted almost verbatim from the original. Chris Rock could've come up with something better.

The script allows James Marsden to shine in his first genuinely hilarious role. His character Oscar is nervous about seeing Elaine's disapproving father, so she gives him what she thinks is a Valium. When it turns out to be a hallucinogenic concocted by her pharmacology student brother Jeff (Columbus Short), they spend the entire funeral trying to contain his wonderfully entertaining delusions.

30 Rock's Tracy Morgan plays Norman, the ever-dutiful family friend. He's brought along Elaine's ex-boyfriend Derek, played by a fat, jowly, sallow-skinned Luke Wilson. What happened to him? He used to be the better-looking Wilson brother! Hopefully it was just make-up to play up his creepiness.

The original triumphs in the casting of the obnoxious uncle. Peter Vaughn as Uncle Alfie is splendidly rude without having to resort to cursing. Danny Glover as Uncle Russell in this version is sufficiently annoying, but he tries too hard to impress with his obscenities.

Peter Dinklage reprises his role from the original as the guy with the secret. His name is Frank, and everyone refers to him as the guy with the leather jacket, despite his most obvious characteristic - his height.

It's a real crowd pleaser. One moviegoer said as she was walking out "I think this might just beat The Hangover". While that might be a bit of a stretch for me, it's a great way to relieve the football tension and tears we've all been feeling.
 

Death, drugs and deceit garner fresh laughs in this remake that's better than the original.

Tisetso 2010/06/21 3:37 PM
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To me cause I have never seen the British version...the movie was the best movie I have seen this year
h 2010/06/22 10:18 AM
Why remake it?? The original was very very good. Going to pass up on this one!
no thanks 2010/06/22 1:22 PM
I've seen the original(British) one and thought it was hilarious. so wont' bother with this one
Come on! 2010/07/09 2:20 PM
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Has anyone noticed how its exactly the same but just with black actors? Come on guys..don't be like the rappers who steal other songs..come up with your own idea's.
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