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Death at a Funeral (2007)

April 20, 2010

6/10 Open Caskets

Talk about déjà vu, old chum.

Death at a Funeral is about a guy who’s put in charge of hosting his father’s funeral while the rest of his extended family does their unintentional best to make the day a living a hell by feeding each other hits of extra-strength acid, taking care of angry old uncles in wheelchairs and figuring out how to avoid being blackmailed by a horny dwarf.

Now, some of you may have noticed that this synopsis is the same one I wrote up for the 2010 American remake that I reviewed yesterday (very astute of you). Well, that’s because they’re pretty much the exact same movie, only this time everyone’s white and they all say “rubbish” instead of “garbage”. In retrospect, I really should have watched this first before seeing the inferior remake, but that’s where I’m at and, even so, I don’t think I’ll be losing sleep over it either.

So, yeah, the two movies pretty much mirror each other in every way thanks to a script by Dean Craig that more or less went untouched in translation from East to West. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it pretty strange that he didn’t change a damn thing from the plot to the dialogue outside of making it more accessible for us Yanks by making it about a black family from Los Angeles. Sure wish I knew that ahead of time so I could have mixed it up a bit instead of watching the same thing twice in two days, but then again, Craig just made himself some easy money and I’m pretty sure I’d do the same thing.

But nonetheless, there are a few noticeable differences that boosted this up from a 4 to a 6.

For starters, the cast is a lot better and they make the movie feel more natural instead of turning it into a spectacle of sorts. Maybe that kind of thing just comes naturally to those classy Brits, but they make it feel more like an actual family rather than a cast of characters, they add a lot more heart to the story and they simply makes things funnier.

The most noteworthy example of this is Alan Tudyk, even though he’s not even British to begin with. His whole deal is that he has to act like he’s tripping balls the entire movie – which is fine by me – but he’s got some great ticks and freakout moments that kept me laughing when everything else wasn’t exactly delivering on that front. Good stuff and it doesn’t hurt that his fake British accent makes him sound like one of The Knights Who Say “NI!”

As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, they’re all good, but Tudyk is the standout. Unfortunately, someone does get pooped on in this version as well, and we also get to see the said guy get pooped on, but there’s less of a gag factor to it this time around and less of an emphasis on seeing how many surfaces and orifices can get fecally violated over the course of five minutes. Regardless, still not a big fan of the scene.

Not surprisingly, the original Death at a Funeral is the one worth seeing over the remake, but I still wasn’t bowled over by it and it still felt strangely awkward/forced at times. My gut instinct tells me to give this one a 5, but considering I kinda blew the experience for myself and that it does pick up quite a bit by the last half-hour, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt this time around.

Still not really sold on British humor though. Except for Holy Grail, that I’m sold on.

Miles Finch is better in it, too.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2010 12:01 pm

    Tudyk was definitely the best thing about this film. I quite liked it, but ultimately, it wasn’t to memorable.

  2. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    April 20, 2010 1:54 pm

    Hell yes on the Alan Tudyk! He is a comedic genius who needs more leading roles like this. But I think Peter Dinklage deserves an honorable mention, as does Jane Asher for delivering the movie’s single best line:

    “Tea can do many things, Jane, but it can’t bring back the dead.”

  3. April 20, 2010 5:32 pm

    Firefly for the win!

    Tudyk is a must have for any good comedy.

  4. April 21, 2010 4:27 pm

    Yes again on Tudyk, I was floored when I found out he wasn’t a Brit. He’s funny in Firefly, too. I do agree that everyone in the family is so believable it’s almost like the actors weren’t simply playing a role. But yeah, despite some really crazy funny parts, overall it was just an ok movie. I have zero interest in seeing the remake though.

    • April 21, 2010 5:25 pm

      Yeah, don’t bother. It’s the exact same thing, only not as funny, and with a black American family instead of a white British one. Strange how that got greenlit.

  5. Branden permalink
    May 24, 2010 6:36 pm

    I’m not the biggest fan of British comedies. This movie was devoid of comedy, except seeing Alan Tudyk high as a kite and naked as a jaybird.

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