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Death at a Funeral (2010)

R | | Comedy | 16 April 2010 (USA)
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A funeral ceremony turns into a debacle of exposed family secrets and misplaced bodies.

Director:

Neil LaBute

Writer:

Dean Craig
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2,915 ( 76)
6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keith David ... Reverend Davis
Loretta Devine ... Cynthia
Peter Dinklage ... Frank
Ron Glass ... Duncan
Danny Glover ... Uncle Russell
Regina Hall ... Michelle
Kevin Hart ... Brian
Martin Lawrence ... Ryan
James Marsden ... Oscar
Tracy Morgan ... Norman
Chris Rock ... Aaron
Zoe Saldana ... Elaine (as Zoë Saldaña)
Columbus Short ... Jeff
Luke Wilson ... Derek
Regine Nehy ... Martina
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Storyline

Aaron's father's funeral is today at the family home, and everything goes wrong: the funeral home delivers the wrong body; a cousin gives her fiancé a Valium from her brother's apartment, not knowing her brother is dealing drugs - it's LSD and the fiancé arrives at the funeral wildly stoned; Aaron's younger brother, Ryan, a successful writer, flies in from New York broke but arrogant; one uncle is angry over his daughter's choice of boyfriends, and the other is cranky and coarse. Add an ovulating wife, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and a short stranger who wants a word with Aaron - what could he want? Would another death solve Aaron's problems? And what about the eulogy? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is one sad family. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug content and some sexual humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Festa col morto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,217,540, 18 April 2010

Gross USA:

$42,739,347
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tracy Morgan and Martin Lawrence appeared on Martin (1992). See more »

Goofs

When we first see Norman driving his Chrysler, the steering wheel is upside-down despite the fact that he's driving straight. See more »

Quotes

Uncle Russell: [upon seeing the photo of Frank with Aaron's and Ryan's father] I always thought he had a little sugar in his tank.
See more »


Soundtracks

Candy
Written by Larry Blackmon and Tomi Jenkins
Performed by Cameo
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
In a Word, Unnecessary
27 April 2010 | by colinrgeorgeSee all my reviews

'Unnecessary' is probably the best single word description of Neil LaBute's "Death at a Funeral." I mean, there's really no precedent for the release of a same-language remake a paltry two and a half years after its original, and yet the guest list arrives for this new "Funeral" with almost as fast a turnaround as a Hollywood sequel. Hell, Chris Nolan hibernated on his second "Batman" film longer.

Nevertheless, the reality is that the decidedly Afro-American-friendly version of the dysfunctional family comedy (notable only because it really is the later film's sole distinguishing feature), is now in theaters, leaving anyone who remembers the Frank Oz original to ponder why.

LaBute and star Chris Rock, who also served as a producer on the film, cheekily 'adapt' U.K. writer Dean Craig's screenplay by peppering it with hip-pop pop-culture nods to Usher and R. Kelly, and leaving the rest, in essence, unchanged. On one hand, I appreciate the sentiment in that it doesn't presume to outdo its progenitor, but that's its problem as a standalone piece: it's either identical or inferior in every conceivable way. As such, the majority of its first-time audience will probably appreciate the comedic build-up having not been spoiled on the gags, and that's fine for right now, but it poses a potential dilemma, say, ten years down the road.

When film buffs and historians look back on "Death at a Funeral" (which they honestly have little reason to), the choice between the two versions will be obvious. Plus, they'll have no idea who "Usher" is.

Likewise, even today I'd recommend a rental of the 2007 film over a ticket to its 2010 counterpart, because, well, the original is the original, and for all its faithfulness, the remake actually accentuates what's lost in translation. The pop-culture one-liners clash with the characters on the page, and leave them feeling half-formed and sloppy on the screen—Are we watching Chris Rock do what makes Chris Rock hilarious, or are we seeing him play a repressed, introverted protagonist? The answer, messily, is both.

On that level, there's a creative integrity to the original performances that is impossible in LaBute's version. Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover, Tracey Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Peter Dinklage, Luke Wilson, and others comprise an undeniably talented cast that does an admirable job performing characters that were written as upper-crust Englishmen, but watching Rock sulk his way through the film makes it abundantly clear that they're not being themselves.

There's also the not-so-insignificant matter of LaBute's bland artisanship. In the past, he's been responsible for equally lifeless big-screen adaptations of his own stage plays, and a spectacularly poorly-received remake of "The Wicker Man"—It begs the question, why was he asked and trusted to shepherd this project? There's no single performance in the film that feels particularly informed by his hand, and LaBute fails to bring a single funny idea to the table. In adhering so rigidly to "Funeral" prime, his remake is marked by an absence of directorial and comedic vision.

I have no qualms with anyone who enjoyed "Death at a Funeral" for the first time via the LaBute/Rock version. A lot of what made the British comedy memorable has survived, and even with a jaded precognition of the gags, I mined a couple laughs. However, the fatal flaw of the 2010 adaptation is that the 2007 version exists. It's not like it's antiquated or anything; it's three years old.

Anyone with an open mind can still appreciate the original "Death at a Funeral," and its immediate availability for less than the cost of a night at the movies makes the 2010 remake quintessentially one thing—Unnecessary.


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