“Death at a Funeral” Not Just a Recoloring

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Genres: Comedy, Kids/Family and Remake
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Release Date: April 16th, 2010 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for language and drug content.
Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by: Neil LaBute

JJ Rating: A-

Watch It Again: Yes.
Own It: Yes.
Recommend it to: Those that love the original might not really flip out over a remake, but those that like black comedies will enjoy its reworked humor.

Aaron (Chris Rock) is doing the eulogy at his father’s funeral. People wonder why Ryan (Martin Lawrence), the writer, isn’t doing it. On top of personalities butting heads, drugs messing with relationships and terrible parking there’s Frank (Peter Dinklage) who has pictures of Aaron’s father that are not at all flattering. Oh and it’s a remake of a 2007 film by the same title: Death at a Funeral.

I had thought that a remake wouldn’t make me laugh as much as the first, and I was right. However, it was funny enough to keep me laughing. The storyline followed the original quite well. They veered off only to make their target audience comfortable.

The acting was alright. The stand out performance came from James Marsden, proving yet again that he’s a great actor. He stole every single scene with his acid tripping self. His huge cheesy grin wrapped in ignorance of his situation, added a great service to a film that might have lacked had he not been casted. If you love the first one and worry about its humor, well Marsden might just be worth the price of admission. He was worth it for me. Just like the original Marsden ends up on the roof, but something different occurs and it’s funny, even though anyone could of predicted it.

Tracy Morgan steals a moment with his scene with Danny Glover in the restroom. In the original I don’t remember it being so graphic as it is in this one and I think it added not only to the ick factor, but to the overall HA-HA factor. Morgan’s hilarious without trying too hard.

Peter Dinklage reprised his part as the blackmailer and did as good a job as before. Shocker. Zoe Saldana playing exasperated almost seems like second nature. Danny Glover grumps around. Martin Lawrence channeled his own character Martin. Chris Rock just spoke well. Tracy Morgan did is the character who isn’t related to anyone, but just a friend with an unusual rash that has the second best scene in the entire film. Luke Wilson played disillusioned ex in an awkward way.

Death at a Funeral is a remake of the film by the same title two years ago that‘s funny, but still in the original‘s shadow. It appears to be a recoloring and a double standard remake, and it just might be that, but it’s actually funny. Death at a Funeral is funny…well, because of James Marsden.