Movie Review: Death at a Funeral (2010)
This remake of the English 2007 version of Death at a Funeral stars Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, and Martin Lawrence in Death at a Funeral, a love-it-or-hate-it, so-so comedy that Americanizes and black-ifies the original British version.
The film loses the majority of points at the beginning, with hammy appeals to black audiences, with references to fried chicken recipes from a slave named Jubilie, an attitude-y old uncle (Danny Glover) with a dirty mouth, and a guy who starts tripping on what was thought to be Valium: “Don't let him spend too much time talking to any one person...or bush.”
After a long set-up and some extensively stilted moments of not funny, things do get moving and head towards outrageously funny, but only after having to sit through: “Little Martina is in 12th grade, but that ass is in grad school!” “My father's dead! Put some panties on.”
As frustrating and repulsively stupid as it is funny – with long stints of bathroom humor, naked men on housetops, unlikable family members, and marital banter that only pulls out a few laughs – Death at a Funeral is at best a comedy for when you're in a weird mood. If, on the other hand, you happen to be a big fan of the four main characters, you need to see it.
As awful as funerals can be, where estranged family members are thrown together when and where they don't want to be, this eventually puts the laughs and light-heartedness back into an otherwise doosie of a film. I nonetheless expected much more from comedic powerhouses like Rock, Morgan, and Lawrence.
Grade: C+ (2 ½ stars)
Rated: R (for profanity, drug use, and adult humor)
Director: Neil LaBute
Summary: A funeral ceremony turns into a debacle of exposed family secrets and misplaced bodies.
Starring: Keith David "Reverend Davis," Loretta Devine "Cynthia," Peter Dinklage "Frank," Ron Glass "Duncan," Danny Glover "Uncle Russell," Regina Hall "Michelle," Kevin Hart "Brian," Martin Lawrence "Ryan," James Marsden "Oscar," Tracy Morgan "Norman," Chris Rock "Aaron"