Death at a Funeral (2007)
Director: Frank Oz
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Dinklage, Ewen Bremner
Plot: Chaos ensues when a man tries to expose a dark secret regarding a recently deceased patriarch of a dysfunctional British family.
Rating: NC16 for language and drug content.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
Frank Oz's black comedy about funerals seeks to debunk the concept that funerals are serious, grim events that must be religiously upheld. However, it doesn't give you the rights to start dancing on top of a loaded coffin.
Death at a Funeral comes with high expectations - the kind that if viewers aren't made to laugh continuously for the length of its runtime, is unfairly deemed a failure. Those high expectations aren't met, unfortunately.
Watching Death at a Funeral requires patience. There isn't really anything outright hilarious within the first half-hour. It's only after that that the film finally takes off. It doesn't take off with a bang though; the screenplay while engaging is less funny than expected.
The reason viewers laugh is due more in part to visual slapstick comedy rather than a dialogue driven one. Sure thing, there are some laugh-out-loud moments (especially when things get way out of control), but those are few and far in between, and are mostly forced upon the viewers.
The cast is well-selected, portraying a dysfunctional family to a realistic extent. But that alone cannot cover its faults. The ending is highly predictable (almost a spoof out of a horror film) and the draggy final eulogy given by Matthew Macfadyen's character somewhat spoils the fun of watching a comedy.
This topsy-turvy British farce is another 'one-of-those' average ensemble comedies that plague our screens in recent years. Death at a Funeral offers nothing more than evoking an occasional smile from viewers experienced enough to realize that this is an unconvincing, second-rate horseplay.
GRADE: C (6/10 or 2.5 stars)
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