Sunday, April 18, 2010

Death at a Funeral Delightfully Generates Laughter

DeathataFuneral-2010 posterSurprisingly, Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence were relatively the straight-men in this 2010 adaptation of the 2007 British film of the same name.  So don’t look to them to bring their usual stand-up brand of humor to this film, instead look to these two comic giants to graciously tip their comedian hats to an ensemble cast that mesh extremely well together; not to mention,  Director Neil LaBute smoothly orchestrates the flow of screwball action. 

This adaptation is almost a scene-by-scene remake of a 2007 British movie with the same title, and the mysterious guest Frank is played by the same actor, Peter Dinklage , and he's even funnier this time around.  

What was meant to be a respectful solemn service quickly turns into a fiasco,  when dysfunctional kinfolks reunite to mourn the death of Aaron (Rock) and Ryan (Martin Lawrence) beloved father.  While mourners gather at the family home, the descendant’s sons find out that their father had been living on the down-low, and to add insult to injury, their father’s 4-foot tall gay lover shows up, expecting them to pay him generously to keep silent about the affair the sons have a hard time believing ever occurred.

One of the back-stories that makes this comedy stand-out stems from Cousin Elaine (Zoe Saldana) not knowing that a bottle labeled "Valium" contained a next generation hallucinogen concocted by her brother (Columbus Short) when she gives one of the pills to her boyfriend, Oscar (James Marsden).  Marsden takes an old gag of his character, Oscar accidentally freaked out on drugs to bizarre heights, and has the audience doubled over in their seats with laughter.

The widow, Loretta Devine comedic timing is flawless as she seems to acquaint her husband’s death with the absence of a grandchild, a child Aaron’s wife, Michelle (Regina Hall) is so desperate to have, and attempts to get her husband to fertilize her during the midst of absolute chaos.   And as for Danny Glover he is over the top as crabby Uncle Russell, who could easily make a saint want to push him down a flight of stairs, wheel chair and all.   There is so much more to say about this film but time and space do not permit,  just know that Death at a Funeral is delightfully amazing and generates belly-roll laughter.

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