Death At A Funeral


Directed by: Frank Oz
Written by:Dean Craig
Starring: Matthew MacFadyen, Ewen Bremmer, Alan Tudyk, Rupert Graves, Peter Vaughan, Peter Dinklage
Released: October 11, 2007
Grade: B+

When it comes to comedy, few people do it better than the English.  Each year, they seem to come with an array of riotous movies and television shows.  I’d name some examples but that would be unfair to the great comedies that I forget to mention.  If you give it some thought for a moment, I’m sure you’ll come up with a worthy list of your own.

Death At A Funeral is made in the same vein of many great English comedies.  It takes a serious situation and turns it into a complete farce.  I’m not surprised that the script attracted the attention of director Frank Oz.  He’s made some hilarious movies in his long career including Bowfinger, In & Out and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  Oz is most famous though for his voice.  He is the man behind such characters as Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear on The Muppet Show Bert and Bert and the Cookie Monster on Sesame Street.  He is also the voice of Yoda in the Star Wars movies.

With a script from young writer Dean Craig, Oz has created a film where each scene is more outrageous than the last.  As the title suggests, it all takes place at a funeral.  A small group of family and friends have come together to pay their respects to a man who recently passed away.  The day doesn’t start well with the funeral company accidentally bringing the wrong coffin to the service.

That’s just the start of what becomes a chaotic afternoon.  I won’t go into too much detail because I’d hate to spoil the jokes.  Many people have compared the film to Four Weddings & A Funeral and it’s a good analogy.  I don’t think Death At A Funeral is as witty but it features the same type of humour.  That should give you a fair indication of what to expect.

I will mention one cast member – Alan Tudyk (A Knight’s Tale) stands out with an extremely funny performance.  Whilst stressing out in the lead up to the funeral, his girlfriend gives him a valium tablet from a bottle she finds on her brother’s kitchen table.  It turns out that it’s not valium – it’s actually acid.  Over the next few hours, he will behave like he’s never behaved before.  His actions during the funeral service left me cringing in my seat and covering my eyes.

This is a very enjoyable film but I admit that some of the jokes were a little too obvious.  You could see them coming from a long way away (well, at least I could).  The finale with the coffin is a good idea.  Still, it’s not easy putting together a great comedy and young screenwriter Dean Craig has done an admirable job.  For the most part, this film is a “crowd pleaser” in every sense of the word.