Plot: When a man threatens to expose a dark secret about a deceased patriarch at his funereal, chaos ensues as the dysfunctional family try to keep family secrets intact.
So I have seen recently the two versions of Death at a Funereal – 2007 vs 2010, British vs American. The British version was the earlier and funny version. The American version was like diluted coke. No taste, no fizz.
Maybe I’m biased cause I live in these parts, but I have always loved British Humor; it’s either manic or grossly understated. You have to listen to the lines. You need a bit of intelligence too. They also love countryside humor and class clashes - the uppity class and the servants.
Now American humor is cool too. The sitcoms are contemporary and laugh out funny. But in comedy movies, they tend to hit you over the head and bash your face in it for good measure or maybe its just the noir movies.
Anyway that’s what they did to Death at a Funereal Hollywood version. I still don’t understand why they had to remake a great comedy especially so soon after its original release. I could understand if the original was 1960 and you want to make a more modern version. (Is it still another attempt to dumb down for American viewers? That would be sad. Less words and more act?)
A breakdown of my worst bits
**I think Chris Rock is cute. I think he’s a great comedian. I also think he’s got one of the best set of dental plates. Golly his teeth shine. So when you have him acting the somber, troubled elder bro in the Hollywood version, I can’t help but expect him to break out in a toothsome smile each minute. Which generally ruins the scene for me. To be honest, he gave a good performance but British Matthew Macfayden who did not have a ready to smile face stole my heart.
**The role of widow and haughty upperclass Mater, was done classlessly by Loretta Devine. I don’t know what an uppity black woman acts like (Michelle Obama??) but Loretta’s version (flounces and rolling eyeballs) was not inspired.
**Tracy Morgan of 30 rock acted as silly-ly as I knew he was capable of. He was alright I guess, just not a personal favourite.
**Martin Lawrence as the famous brother and author did not cut it with me. He had this smarmy manner which I did not connect with. And what was with the bling bling??
**Handicapped and Belligerent Uncle Alfie acted by Peter Vaughan was a belly of laughs. Danny Glover wasn’t.
**Peter Dinklage flawlessly played the same role in the remake across two continents. Which makes me wonder; is there a shortage of short actors? It must be cool to have such a unique selling point. Lol.
The only actor I thoroughly enjoyed was James Marsden as Oscar – Elaine’ fiance who was mistakenly given a hallucinogenic. If possible, he was better than the first Oscar by Alan Tudyk or maybe I am biased cause he also has a pert tush (James).
Anyway, if you’ve not seen this movie, get the British version from Netflix and laugh your heart out.