Lies, Dies and Family Ties in America
Aaron's (Chris Rock) father has died and the family are arriving for the funeral and that includes his more successful brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence) who loves to boast about his wealth. Not only does Aaron have to deal with his brother but also his mother, Cynthia (Loretta Devine), who is not subtle in moaning about how he and his wife Michelle (Regina Hall) haven't provided her with a grandchild yet. But Aaron isn't the only one with issues as his cousin Elaine (Zoe Saldana) has arrived with her very white boyfriend Oscar (James Marsden) who has taken what Elaine thought was valium to calm his nerves but turns out to be a hallucinogenic. And then there is Frank (Peter Dinklage) the dwarf who seems to be at the funeral yet no one knows him.
I don't remember when "Death at a Funeral" was announced but I bet it caused some moaning because why would anyone feel it necessary to remake not only a movie from 2007, just three years earlier, but a British movie at that. You can understand when they remake a recent foreign language movie but why remake a movie just to transpose it from a British situation to an African American one. I still don't know why they decided to do it and admittedly I haven't seen the original but this version of "Death at a Funeral" is a lot of fun.
The thing is that "Death at a Funeral" is a very simple concept; on one hand we have elements of a reunion movie as such we have all the typical comedy stuff from rivalries to secrets coming out. But on the other hand it is some visual black comedy with slapstick thrown in with people making fools of themselves and bodies falling out of coffins. It is because of this, this eclectic collection of comedy which makes it have something for everyone especially those who enjoy over the top character based comedy as we have a whole array of characters with James Marsden seeming to channel his inner Seann William Scott as the high Oscar.
That is the other strength of "Death as a Funeral" as with so many characters it has a huge array of actors and whilst Marsden steals many a scene you have the joy of Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence as rival brothers. And then there is Peter Dinklage as the mysterious Frank who shows up at the funeral and leaves you wondering why he is at the funeral and giving you a hilarious twist when you find out.
What this all boils down to is that "Death at a Funeral" is a riot of comedy and has something for everyone with nothing seeming sacred when it comes to what goes including some gross out comedy. As to whether it is better than the original British movie I don't know but this remake is certainly a lot of fun.