Heather does Death at a Funeral

“Tea can do many things, Jane, but it can’t bring back the dead.”

The Scoop: 2007 R, Directed by Frank Oz and starring Matthew MacFadyen, Keeley Haws, Jane Asher, Andy Nyman, Ewen Bremner, Daisy Donovan, Alan Tudyk, Peter Vaughn, and Peter Dinklage

Summary Capsule: Daniel’s dad just passed. Things started with the wrong body being brought to his wake, but once that is corrected everything else that could go wrong does go wrong. Isn’t laughing at the misfortune of others great?

Heather’s Rating: If you’ve always wanted to see Alan Tudyk butt – and lots of it – this is your movie. Even if you haven’t, it’s still your movie.

Heather’s Review: Raise your hand if you heard of this movie when it first came out. Really? Is that it? Its pathetic how promoting  little gems like this get dropped in favor of big, vapid, flashy films. Okay I’m continuing the review. So………you can put your hand down now. Honestly, do you do everything anyone tells you? Oh. Well then e-mail me at rori_16h@live.com for the address where I wish for you to drop off a huge bag of money and a lifetime supply of Jelly Bellys.

Ahem – Death At A Funeral! You probably noticed from the cast list up there that this movie is full of great actors. You probably also figured out from the length of that list that the movie focuses on more than just a couple of people. The movie has the audience closely watching no less than six people as they try to deal with all manor of crazy.

There’s Howard, who gets shoveled with watching after a very rude, angry Uncle Alfie. Alfie himself delights in causing grief for everyone around him from the comfort of his wheelchair. Justin had a one night stand with Martha and now insists on throwing himself in front of her, wagging his hips and slicking back his oily hair whenever he can chase her down. Martha, who has made it clear she isn’t interested, is too busy chasing after her fiancee Simon to deal with Justin’s crap. Simon needs chasing because Martha gave him Valium to relax his nerves, but it turns out it was a strong hallucinogenic concocted by Martha’s brother and Simon’s freaking out.

I haven’t even touched on the fact that Daniel and his brother have a funeral to keep in tact as a very short, determined man threatens to disclose some very scandalous information about their deceased father unless they pay him a tidy sum. The blackmailer get his , and while you could probably see what they decide to do with him coming form a mile away, it’s hilarious.. This is the epitome of what dark humor should be – you’re laughing so hard and yet all the time feel as if you really shouldn’t be laughing at all.

Our hardworking trailer hound Eunice recently listed a trailer for the American remake of this movie, coming out just three years after the original.  It stars Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and that guy who played Cyclops, among others. In my opinion it’s a completely needless remake. My annoyance with it is that Hollywood is consistently pandering to  audiences and spoon-feeding us our comedy, lacing it with heavy doses of slapstick and scatological humor. We’ve been conditioned to scratch our heads when we’re shown the subtlety of an awkward situation and intelligent jokes, but laugh uproariously when someone gets kicked in the crotch.

Don’t get me wrong – the British DAAF has its instances of poop jokes and “haha he’s naked!”, but that’s not its focus and certainly not its strong points. The movie manages a nice balance between physical and intellectual humor. The trailer for the remake is toilet humor, racist jokes, people getting punched out and a Jackie Chan crack thrown in to remind us that Chris Rock did those Rush Hour movies. Why?

Give Death At a Funeral (2007) a rent. It’s a great example of the dry sarcasm and awkward situations that make shows like The Office so great, and everyone in the movie turns in terrific performances. If you don’t agree, well that other one’s coming to a theater near you. I’ll probably go see it for free on a military base – I’m not giving my monetary support to it – so we can meet up back here and compare notes.

Uncle Alfie demonstates how to age with grace and dignity. Or not.

Intermission!

  • According to Alan Tudyk the inspiration for his ‘stoned’ performance came from a memory from his teenage years when he once saw an intoxicated teen perched naked on top of a picnic table. He mimicked the same weird pose during his nude scene on the roof.
  • Frank Oz once said that it was impossible to make Peter Vaughan laugh on the set because he was so deeply into the crotchety character of Uncle Alfie. This is why there was no footage of Peter cracking up to use for the closing credit montage.
  • Originally the character of Peter wasn’t written to be a dwarf. This change was made after Peter Dinklage auditioned and the role was re-written for him.

Groovy Quotes

Daniel: [glances into the coffin just presented to him] Who is this?
Undertaker: Pardon me?
Daniel: This is not my father.

Howard:I just hate funerals, don’t you? They’re just so depressing. I don’t know…it’s just the death and everything.

Martha: Simon.
Simon: [from behind the locked bathroom door] Simon.
Martha: Simon!
Simon: Simon.
Matha: Si!
Simon: …Mon.

Simon: [the coffin starts moving] I knew it!

Daniel: My father was an exceptional man!
[pause]
Daniel: He may not have been a perfect man, but he was a good man, and he loved us. All I wanted to do today was to give him a dignified send-off. Is that really so much to ask? So, maybe, maybe he had some things he liked to do. Life isn’t simple, it’s complicated. We’re all just thrown in here together, in a world full of chaos and confusion, a world full of questions and no answers, death always lingering around the corner, and we do our best. We can’t only do our best, and my dad did his best. He always tried to tell me that you have to go for what you want in life because you never know how long you’re going to be here. And whether you succeed or you fail, the most important thing is to have tried. And apparently no one will guide you in the right direction, in the end you have to learn for yourself. You have to grow up yourself. So when you all leave here today, I would like you to remember my father for who he really was: a decent, loving man. If only we could be as giving and generous and as understanding as my father was. Then the world would be a far better place.

Simon: [unravelling a roll of toilet paper] Go, go! Join the others!

Justin: You can’t fight what we had together.
Martha: Justin, it was one night. It was a massive mistake. I was drunk out of my mind. You could have been a donkey!

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Eunice does Unconditional Love « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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