The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Multiple stars deliver slapstick humor in Death at a Funeral remake

By Joshua Knopp/reporter

It’s hard for a movie to be so funny in so many different ways.

Death at a Funeral centers around family and friends hosting a funeral for its patriarch. Multiple storylines entwine. Aaron (Chris Rock) tries to finish his eulogy at the last minute while being undermined by his family’s affection for his brother, Ryan (Martin Lawrence). Elaine (Zoe Saldana) attempts to introduce a hallucinating Oscar (James Marsden) as her new fiancé to a disapproving father while fighting off the attentions of Derek (Luke Wilson). Norman (Tracy Morgan) attempts to keep a leash on the paraplegic Uncle Russell (Danny Glover). And Frank (Peter Dinklage) attempts to blackmail the family with explicit photographs of himself and the deceased.

Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence tie up and hold down Peter Dinklage in the movie Death at a Funeral. Photo courtesy MGM
Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence tie up and hold down Peter Dinklage in the movie Death at a Funeral. Photo courtesy MGM

The film succeeds on the basest level for a comedy — it’s funny. The slapstick is kept to a minimum but is hilarious when prevalent. The main humor is driven from the family relationships. When the entire family and friends system is looked at, a tangled web of inferiority complexes, unrequited love affairs and hallucinogens tie the group together. The common theme of these relationships seems to be each family member’s different definitions and expressions of love. If the film is about anything, it is about a family overcoming these holes in communication.

There is a good chance, however, that the film isn’t really about anything at all. A couple of plotlines dominate, such as Frank’s blackmail and Elaine’s troubles, but these plotlines seem to be secondary to the comical situations they create. While this is just fine for the casual viewer, it leaves something lacking for those who were looking for a film with a little more depth. To wrap up the plot, the writer uses a device that is the equivalent of saying the butler did it, leaving much to be desired.

Another interesting fact about this movie is it is the fastest English language remake to date. In 2007, Death at a Funeral was released in England. It had the same plot, the same writer (Dean Craig), and even featured Dinklage in the same role, albeit a different name. The only significant difference is that in the 2010 version, the family is black.

A very funny movie, Death at a Funeral seems to betray a disturbing trend of unoriginal thoughts in movies today. Here’s hoping that comes to an end soon.

Final Take: A genuinely funny movie that limits its slapstick and one-liners.

Those who would enjoy it: Anyone who doesn’t find it vulgar

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