Movie Review: Death at a Funeral (2010), Better than the English Version?

Death at a Funeral (2010) is a remake of the English film, Death at a Funeral (2007).  It’s a comedy that revolves around the funeral of the patriarch of a well-off family and all the mishaps and antics that occur on that day.  This is not a one Hollywood actor vehicle.  It’s an ensemble comedy that has many plots going on at the same time.  Chris Rock, Loretta Divine, Peter Dinklage, Danny Glover, Luke Wilson, Zoe Saldana, Keith David, Regina Hall, Martin Lawrence, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, and  Columbus Short are all in this movie with significant parts.  Chris Rock plays Aaron, the oldest son of the deceased father, but not the most famous.  His younger brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence) is a famous novelist and is obviously the favorite of the family even though he is an irresponsible loser.  Zoe Saldana and Columbus Short play Elaine and Jeff, brother and sister and cousins to Rock and Lawrence. Elaine’s boyfriend, Oscar is played by James Marsden, and Oscar is the continuous comic relief through the entire film.  Elaine gives Oscar what she thinks is Valium, but it turns out to be a home-brewed acid concocted by Jeff.  This leads to Oscar being stark naked on the roof through a good portion of the movie, and this writer is not complaining.  James Marsden’s rear end is very white, but very nice.  Peter Dinklage plays Frank, a past acquaintance of the deceased who is trying to get some inheritance for himself from the family.  Danny Glover’s Uncle Russell is the perfect level of crudeness and crotchetiness.  I don’t think I have ever seen him play a character like this before.  Tracy Morgan plays family friend Norman who gets the job of picking up Uncle Russell and minding him most of the time.  It was good to see Morgan branch out a little and not play the typical Tracy Morgan character.

The main plot lines in Death at a Funeral involve Frank’s blackmail, Oscar’s acid trip, Aaron and Ryan’s sibling rivalry, Uncle Russell antics, and Elaine’s ex-fling Derek (Luke Wilson) trying to get her back from Oscar.  Of course, all of these plotlines are interrupting the funeral that is supposed to be occurring.  I really liked the trailer for this movie, and the movie does not disappoint.  There were quite a few scenes when the entire audience was laughing loudly.  I will forewarn you that there is a scene that is pretty disgusting, but funny at the same time.

I watched the 2007 Death at a Funeral again before seeing this one.  All of the plots are exactly the same with a few minor adjustments.  Screenwriter Dean Craig wrote both screenplays.  He Americanized some of the situations.  There is more cursing in this version and the names were changed.  The original took place in a smaller English town, and the remake is set in Los Angeles.  One thing that is the same is Peter Dinklage playing the same character in both movies.  He is perfect as blackmailer Frank/Peter.  Legendary Frank Oz directed the 2007 version, but Neil LaBute directs this version.  I would recommend watching the 2007 version if you like what you see in theatres.

I would say that the American Death at a Funeral trumped the English version.  I know this does not happen very often, but I think 2010’s version is just a lot funnier and had more star power.  It has a great group of actors who played their parts well.  I would be curious to know if English audiences would agree with me or not.

I give Death at a Funeral 4 “Finally the Americanized movie wins!” out of 5.

by Sarah Ksiazek

About Sarah Ksiazek

Sarah is a Zookeeper extraordinaire who writes, edits, and is the resident trailer addict for Lost in Reviews. Do not underestimate her snobbery when it comes to trailers. She also owns/runs The Host Movie News which is a fan site for The Host movie adaptation.

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