Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Death at a Funeral (2007)

Martha (Daisy Donovan): Simon.
Simon (Alan Tudyk): (from behin the locked bathroom door) Simon.
Martha: Simon!
Simon: Simon.
Martha: Sy!
Simon: Mon.

Poor Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen). All he wants to do is give his father a decent, dignified funeral ceremony, but instead things keep going wrong. Bodies are switched, hallucinogenic drugs are taken, and unexpected guests turn up with secrets they want to tell and demands to make. Veteran American director Frank Oz does a good job of creating a British comedy in the same vein as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Waking Ned Devine. If you liked those two films, you’ll love this. British comedies are not my cup of tea; I find the humor too slow and telegraphed, and the jokes (about old age, wheelchairs, gay lovers, and drugs) too easy. Nonetheless, there are a couple of laugh out loud moments, most of them involving Andy Nyman and American actor Alan Tudyk. The cast is more than competent and plays it straight, and the dramatic moments toward the end work because of this. Rating: 2.5 of 4 

"Death at a Funeral finds its comedy in the peculiar human trait of being most tempted to laugh when we're absolutely not supposed to."
- Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

"Set among the perpetually polite and embarrassed British, the film is at least tolerable."
- Jeffrey M. Anderson (Combustible Celluloid)

"Full of tired, sitcom-level gags."
- Josh Bell (Las Vegas Weekly)

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