Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Death at a Funeral" (2010) - Movie Review

Why would someone want to remake a UK not so bright comedy “Death at a Funeral? Why would they make it scene by scene without any more additional touch or tone to the original which in itself needed more flair? More than these two why’s is the biggest why of all would be director Neil LaBute, the complex storyteller of “In the Company of Men” and “Lakeview Terrace” take up this venture. Well, learning the answer will only more painful than the questions itself.

“Death at a Funeral” as mentioned is a scene by scene remake of Frank Oz’s UK film of the same title. In this version it focuses on an African American family and their friends, siblings, cousins and uncles. When I reviewed the original film, I mentioned that this is a comedy which builds up to the final half an hour punch lines but worth the wait. When you know the punch lines already, the wait is not worth it. But not every one would have seen the original and I am assuming they will find this comedy fresh. Yet the original and this one has the same problem of not the greatest laugh out comedy and for that fact not the passing time one either.

Lot is on the mind of Aaron (Chris Rock) apart from his dad’s death. A stolen attention by his younger brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence), his wife Michelle (Regina Hall) wanting to impregnate her so that her pregnancy could shut her grieving mother-in-law (Loretta Devine) and the several other things which on a plot line and trailer would invite a hoot for fun. It does in these small moments and does it in bad taste deliberately and celebrates while doing it. All is good for a great laugh. True, but there are no great laughs. Small smiles and you watch it with indifference.

There are several potential supporting roles apart from the lead of Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence. In the original Alan Tudyk did an admiring job of being the accidentally drugged Simon and here James Marsden rises up to the occasion being the single grace trying everything and putting himself out here literally to get the guffaws and he gets it. Tracy Morgan, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover and Zoe Saldana try to revive a failing patient.

And what a good actor Peter Dinklage is and here he redoes the role again in vain. Here comes another why, why would Dinklage undertake this role when he would have known what the original fizzled out to be? “Death at a Funeral” is many these questions which goes on and on for an hour and thirty minutes. May be it affected me doubly to revisit the film.

The thing is I did like the original a little bit and have a positive review and I am surprised to find myself disappointed with this remake. May be when someone decides to give a different flavour of a splendid plot in the screenplay for the American audience, you want to explore the originality in places. Especially if that someone is a talented director having a care for dark territories with a comedy merciless yet realistic.

I do not have much else to say about this film as I did most of it for the original film. I almost did not write this review as to wondering what is different about this to have a say about this. Then I began to sketch out the questions and the expectations it automatically came with and here Iam crossing the one page mark in my review. “Death at a Funeral” is a little fun if you have not seen the original but if you have then it would be painfully repetitive and disappointing in every step of its way.

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