West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 15 | September 12 - 18, 2007

Koch On Film

“Death at a Funeral” (-)

As I left the theater, a couple said to HS, “Did you like the film? They thought it was very funny and said they enjoyed it. I interjected, “It was really bad.”

The movie centers around the funeral of a man attended by his family and friends. One son, Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen), is an unpublished author, and his older brother, Robert (Rupert Graves), is a successful writer from whom Daniel is estranged. Jane Asher plays their mother. 

The foolish plot involves the misuse of drugs, substituting mescaline for valium, and very silly potty humor is introduced. The most innovative twist is the declaration by a dwarf, Peter (Peter Dinklage), that he has been the lover of the deceased parent. To the consternation of the sons, he tells of their relationship accompanied by photos, which he uses in an attempt to extort money from the family. 

Yes, the picture provides a few slapstick laughs, but they weren’t enough for me to hold it in high regard. I would compare it to a very bad English television sitcom made into a movie. It had potential to amuse, but it ended up like a lead balloon never able to rise and float. Three or four laughs do not an evening of entertainment make.

HS said: “You have to be an Anglophile with low standards to get much satisfaction from this drawing-room comedy transplanted to a funeral parlor. Even the title sounds like a rip-off of an earlier successful film, ‘Three Weddings and a Funeral.’ If you enjoy watching Wasps flutter and hallucinate, [and] if you like S&M with a particularly ugly victim, you might like the movie.”

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