Wednesday, August 29, 2007

movie minute

Funeral Fun: What do you get when you mix together an uptight British family, a funeral, a shocking secret involving a midget and a drug that is most definitely not valium? You get this ridiculously funny movie about just how far people will go to protect the memory of the departed. Death At A Funeral (R) comes along as the summer blockbuster season putters to a close. The film starts out with an upsetting but surprisingly funny faux pas involving the wrong body being delivered for a funeral. Matthew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy from the hit movie Pride & Prejudice) plays Daniel, the less successful and more stressed out son of the deceased. As Daniel's family gathers for the somber occasion, Daniel discovers something upsetting about his father and tries, at all costs, to stop the secret from getting out and making sure his father has the most dignified and moving funeral possible. The funeral is definitely moving; dignified is quite a different story.

This film features some very funny cast members. I must point out the standout performance of Alan Tudyk (Knocked Up) who plays Simon, the first person to be affected by the drug. Tudyk's performance is practically a movie unto itself; one that offers the elastic faced actor to offer up most of the movies hysterical moments. The film also features the usually quite arresting Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent) and while he does do his best in the role of Peter, the midget with money on his mind, he does seem out of his element and not just because of the different accents floating around him.

This film just gets more and more absurdly funny as it plows along toward the inevitable conclusion of the delivery of the eulogy; how it gets there is all the fun and one would have to be in a coma to not have at least a few guffaws. Just be warned there are a couple of gross out gags (thankfully those do not include upchucking, however, one does include something worse). The film's only weak point is the storyline between smitten and lurking Justin (played by Ewen Bremner) and Martha (played by Daisy Donovan).

Maven muppet director Frank Oz offers up an alternative to those blue over all the summer sequels; a late summer gem and hopefully a sleeper hit that the grown-up crowd will enjoy.

Bags of popcorn (out of 5): 3.75


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