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Death at a Funeral

A 2010 American remake of the British comedy.

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Darkly comic portrait of a family coming apart as they come together for a funeral

  • Aug 11, 2010

I saw the original Death at a Funeral when it played at our local theater. I liked it, but I liked this remake even better. While the scenarios are almost identical, the cultural differences between the two families made them feel like completely different films. It was a stroke of genius on the part of director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Lakeview Terrace, and the unfortunate The Wicker Man remake, that was completely unnecessary), to recast Peter Dinklage as the uninvited guest with a secret.

The original worked due to a delicate blend of deadpan delivery and madcap farce - deadpan and madcap being the dominant modes of British comedy - but with the emphasis on deadpan. Here the emphasis is on madcap, especially in the performance of Tracy Morgan, but it still manages to feel like a plausible depiction of a real-to-life family, and never quite goes to ridiculous. In both, the humor comes mostly from a tension between the expectations of dignity and decorum at a funeral and the increasingly undignified activities of its participants: drug-crazed hallucinations, sibling rivalry, sex-craziness and jealousy, secretive revelations, blackmail, and possibly even murder. Here, though, I just thought it was simply more funny. While I grinned watching the first one, I laughed out loud with this version. Danny Glover was delightful as a mad-as-hell uncle; Chris Rock played the straight man, the put-upon and under appreciated son of the deceased; Martin Lawrence played perfectly the cocky and successful writer come home; Tracy Morgan plays the pratfall guy and takes some hilarious crap in this film; and Zoe Saldana as the niece of the deceased and James Marsden as her tripped-out fiance round out the mix. It's a terrific ensemble cast, and Neil LaBute times it all perfectly, managing to make perfectly clear what's going on when and where in what might have been a much more chaotic mixture with a less competent director at the helm. Good stuff.

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October 25, 2010
I like dark farce if well done and this sounds as though it is. Thanks for this fine synopsis. Betty
September 28, 2010
Glad I found your review; I was wondering about this movie. I didn't realize it was a remake, but I like the actors that play in it, so I think I would enjoy this one. Good review and thank you!
August 12, 2010
I have this movie at home as a rental, I am pretty sure it'll be inferior to the original but as long as it gives me some laughs, I may be entertained. Thanks for the review!
More Death at a Funeral (2010 Ameri... reviews
Quick Tip by . February 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Whose moronic idea was it to do a remake of a film that just came out 3 years earlier? Stick with the original film. It's funnier & smarter.
About the reviewer
Nathan Andersen ()
Ranked #68
I teach philosophy at Eckerd College, in Saint Petersburg, Florida.      I run an award-winning International Cinema series in Tampa Bay (www.eckerd.edu/ic), and am co-director of … more
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About this movie


Genre: Comedy, Remakes
Release Date: April 16, 2010
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Screen Gems
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