Director: Neil LaBute
Cast: Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracey Morgan, James Marsden, Luke Wilson, Peter Dinklage, Danny Glover
It's a strange thing, this: a remake of a British comedy barely 3 years old. A moderately unfunny British comedy. This all-new Death at a Funeral deals, rather unsurprisingly, with a death that occurs at a funeral - a hilarious happenstance if ever there was one. Funerals! Brilliant. Death! Laugh out loud. Black people getting angry! Pure genius. Or at least that's how the theory goes. That's clearly why the original film wasn't that great; it didn't have Chris Rock in it.
Aaron (Rock) is the oldest son in the family. So when his father dies, it's down to him to organise the funeral and give the eulogy. Along the way, he deals with younger brother Ryan (Lawrence), a nagging mother, a noisy friend (Morgan) and Zoe Saldana - whose female wares attract Luke Wilson's unwanted attention. Not enough colour for you? There's also Danny Glover in a wheelchair, spouting obscenities like his career's almost over.
Amidst all the shouting (mostly Tracy Morgan), along comes a dwarf who looks a lot like the dwarf in the original Death at Funeral. That's because he is: the offbeat, threatening Frank (Dinklage) has the same dark secret to reveal, again looking for money from the grieving Aaron's pocket. Naturally, one thing leads to another, and soon there are two bodies knocking about the house, giving way to full-on loud-mouthed farce.
It's definitely got a fast pace in its favour thanks to Neil LaBute's snappy direction, but Death at a Funeral is no better this time round, no matter how black the humour gets. That's probably because it's written by Dean Craig yet again. Rock is kind of likeable as the semi-serious lead, but that's got nothing to do with his laughter count. The rest is like inviting a bunch of shouty annoying people to a funeral. Then paying to have them stand around the coffin being all shouty and annoying.
The only amusing turn in the whole thing? James Marsden as a nervous white guy who takes valium (read: not valium) and ends up high as a kite. A man pretending to be off his face on drugs? It's not big or clever, but it is rather funny - like he did in Enchanted, Marsden proves his comic delivery is irresistibly spot-on. But he's the only reason to attend this funeral. Unless you enjoy the sight of Danny Glover crapping on someone else's face.
"Our dad was bro-mantically involved with a guy that could fit in his pocket, and you're mad because he's white?!" This loud American remake proves that sometimes you should just let a film rest in peace.