Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Movie Review: Death at a Funeral (2007)

Chaos is unleashed in Frank Oz's new picture about a family just trying to get through a funeral. What should have been a depressing but relatively unmemorable day turns out to be anything but, and the end result is a relatively entertaining comedy called Death at a Funeral.

The movie stars Matthew Macfadyen as Daniel, a man who is holding a service for his late father. Struggling under the shadow of his more popular older brother, he has invited his father's friends and relatives for a simple, quiet send off. Unfortunately, one man has showed up accidentally high on acid, and he spends most of his time running around naked and admiring bushes. Even worse, another man has shown up to blackmail him, and he has to figure out how to keep the guy quiet without ruining his father's reputation - and saving his much-needed money.

Death at a Funeral starts off rather slow. It has its funny moments, but overall is rather bland for a comedy. But when everything starts to piece itself together, you realize that Oz has just been setting you up for the rest of the story, a tight, fast-paced comedy that doesn't always offer up the best laughs but still is consistently entertaining.

I would have liked to see a few more ludicrous situations, or perhaps a little more spark to the characters (you can tell they're trying, but their humor is just not coming across), but as is, Death at a Funeral still works. The characters are likable, even if they aren't used to their full potential, and Macfadyen is good in the lead. In reality, the humor here is a lot more direct and situational than I was expecting, as I figured it would be more of a low-budget British comedy with extremely dry humor and not much else.

Death of a Funeral isn't a great film, but if you like comedies that star British people and enjoy films off the beaten track, it is a nice change of pace. Overall, it is a very entertaining hour and a half.

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