Written by Dean Craig

 Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover,  Peter Dinklag




Death At A Funeral



Three years ago the American director Frank Oz made a very British film farce called “Death At A Funeral,” with Matthew Macfadyen and Rupert Graves.  Now that it’s been remade here in America maybe it should be called “Death At A Funeral In Blackface,” because it is the remake – almost word for word – of the British “Death At A Funeral.”  The producers have hired the original writer, Dean Craig, just changing the casting from Brits to Blacks, including Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover, and the one holdover from the original, Peter Dinklage as the dead father’s secret lover.


When the original came out I recall (with the aid of my review at the time) that I enjoyed it but didn’t think it was a film for the ages.  Now, after seeing it again in its new casting, I feel even less like using a superlative.  In fact it feels stale, as though the jokes and situations were all laid out in advance.  The coffin moves.  (Did you not see that coming?)  Uncle Russell in the wheelchair has diarrhea while his nephew gets his hand stuck under the seat.  Young white guest, engaged to a niece of the dead man, has taken a hallucinogen thinking it was Valium and ends up on the roof, naked.  And so on.  Funny the first time, boring the second. 


Yes, I know this version of “Death At A Funeral” is made for a whole new audience, and in fact it doesn’t shy away from interracial marriages either, and good for Chris Rock, who produced it as well as starring in it.  But you’d think that two years after the first one someone would have thought up some new jokes, some new business to help the comedy along.  It is a farce, after all.  What was sad was that everyone in the film seemed also to have seen it before;the first time someone is shown in closeup screaming at a sordid revelation it’s funny.  By the sixth time it’s just dull.