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  Death at a Funeral (2007)

Starring: Matthew MacFayden, Rupert Graves, Peter Dinklage, Alan Tudyk

Directed by: Frank Oz

Produced by: Sidney Kimmel, Share Stallings, Lawrence Malkin, Diana Phillips

Written by: Dean Craig

Distributor: MGM


     Frank Ozí Death at a Funeral is a perfectly affable British farce, but it never says anything of consequence about its situations. As I watched the film, I was entirely amused by the characters, but I never learned enough about them to care about what would happen to them next. In this respect, Death at a Funeral represents something of a miracle: director Oz finds his audience fully engaged by the humor of his film, despite the fact that they donít have a dime invested in the personalities inhabiting it. As such, the viewer will respect Death at a Funeralís craftily-written screwball antics just as much as theyíll begin to forget about them five minutes after they leave the theatre.

     The funeral promised by the title is that of the father of brothers Daniel (Matthew MacFayden) and Robert (Rupert Graves). As previously mentioned, we donít learn much about these characters. From what we do: Daniel is regarded as failed novelist despite the fact that he not yet finished his first novel, and Robert is his most-successful novelist of a brother. The two are constantly competing, so much so that Robert shells out the last dollars in his bank account (he may be successful, but he splurges) to fly first-class back to England for the funeral from his New York home, just so that all of the attendees will show their surprise that the less-literate Daniel will be doing the eulogy. (Daniel has this measurably written on three-by-five cards). 

     At the funeral, laughs donít come so much from the lead-duo as they do from the supporting cast: Alan Tudykís Simon, who acts wildly due to a particular prescription-drug mix-up, and Peter Dinklageís Peter, who may have been Dadís closet gay lover, are particular showstoppers. The bulk of Death at a Funeralís success comes in the form of random situational humor, which is probably why itís so forgettable. There are a lot of specific moments and supporting characters that the viewer will chuckle at, but not a lot of jokes or comedic developments present. As it is, Death at a Funeral is perfectly funny and jolly from scene-to-scene, but certainly wonít leave a lasting impression. Whether this experience is worth the price of admission, Iíll let you be the judge.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 8.24.2007

Screened on: 8.22.2007 at the Edwards San Marcos 18 in San Marcos, CA.


Death at a Funeral is rated R and runs 90 minutes.

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