Grafting crude, borderline-cruel 21st-century humor onto a comedy of manners that pointedly evokes the first decade of the last century is a novel way of getting laughs, so the drug-deranged gay dwarf and profanity-spewing senior citizen in this Frank Oz Britcom have a certain peculiar integrity. The sniveling prat who gets sprayed with the old guy’s shit, maybe not so much.
Trashy trappings aside, Death at a Funeral is a pleasant if staid account of a bourgie clan burying one of its own. The funeral party gathers at the home of the deceased, where his feuding adult sons (MacFadyen and Graves), devoted niece (Donovan) and her inadvertently doped fiancé (the scene-stealing, frequently naked Alan Tudyk), along with various hangers-on—including the aforementioned acid casualty (Peter Dinklage) and be-fecesed friend of the family (Andy Nyman)—pop the cork on their long-simmering resentments. This makes for pretty thin broth, and most of the film’s fun is reserved for its final third. But Oz does a decent job of building up to Death’s big laughs—and even when things go all gooey for the sentimental finale, there’s a final gross-out gag pitched to the cheap seats.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Frank Oz, Neil LaBute|