Proof Review: Death At A Funeral (2010)

Release Date
April 16, 2010
Director
Neil LaBute
Screenplay
Dean Craig
Distributed By
Screen Gems
Budget
$21 million
Comedy
Rated R for language, drug content and some sexual humor
92 minutes

Death At A Funeral

Before this review begins, I want to first state how exhausted I am with Hollywood and the need to remake films. Death At A Funeral was a British comedy released in 2007. Three years later, the same exact film is released with a different cast, set to the backdrop of one of Tyler Perry’s films. The same is being done with the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo franchise starring Daniel Craig and tentatively Emma Watson. These films were just released last year (2009). I do not even support redoing films even further in the past like the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. But the shortening time-span between remakes is getting absolutely ridiculous.

Death At A Funeral is the Tyler Perry-ified version of the 2007 British comedy (Perry actually has nothing to do with this film…as far as I know). Biases towards remakes aside, the film comes off better than anticipated with a nicely stacked cast and enough of the original story to keep the film interesting.

Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, and Tracy Morgan are the dream team of rompous comedy. Unimpressed with Morgan’s latest release, Cop Out, his performance in Death At A Funeral somewhat redeems himself, apart from the fact that he cannot escape this childish comedy with getting splattered in the face by his uncle’s feces and obsessively worrying about a rash on his arm. Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence are the brothers who lost their father. Their interactions and arguments, though repetitive, are the highlights of the film, with both comedians playing off of each other effectively. Rock’s dry delivery and Lawrence’s over the top antics make a priceless dynamic.

Zoe Saldana brings a sense of sophistication to the film, as she normally does, while her fiancé in the film, James Marsden, is the exact opposite. Marsden is the subject of the comedy throughout the film, starting out nervous to meet Saldana’s father and being fed what the entire family mistakes for Valium, which turn out to be acid tablets. Marsden hallucinates his way through the funeral and alienates himself from the family completely, all while Luke Wilson, who has noticeably put on the “lbs“, tries to win back Saldana unsuccessfully despite words of encouragement from Saldana‘s father.

Drug use is a huge factor in the film, and though I do not discern the humor, I do realize that situations like borrowing family member’s drugs do exist and see how that could cause laughs. However, the idea that half the family takes one person’s Valium is extremely far-fetched and loses me, adding to the childish nature of the film.

For those that did not notice, Dean Craig is the writer for both versions of the film, giving almost the exact same storylines to both versions and even carrying Peter Dinklage over to reprise his role from the original. The fact that the remake is acknowledging the existence of the first film is mildly less intrusive and merits at least a small portion of credit, since most remakes completely disregard the existence of an original.

Death At A Funeral is merely one of those films where a viewer will either laugh until tears or fail to find the humor, myself being the latter. Though Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence fit the film perfectly, the antics of the characters are lost in translation. Perhaps there is a charm that only the British can bring to Death At A Funeral, but without having viewed the original, I am left anticipating (but not really) the Hispanic remake of Death At A Funeral in three or less years (completely joking… hopefully…).

 

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