Goes from being a black comedy, to a BLACK comedy. Pun intended.
Put-upon Aaron (Chris Rock) is always plagued by drama and dysfunction, but he encounters more than he can handle while attempting to plan his father’s funeral. What’s a family gathering without jealousy, tension and blackmail?
This film is directed by Neil Labute, but noticed how I said directed, not written. This guy has made some pretty edgy comedies like Your Friends & Neighbors, and In the Company of Men, so I was kind of bummed to see he wasn’t doing any writing for this film, and considering his last remake was The Wicker Man, I was sort of on my tippy toes about seeing this.
Now I haven’t seen the original so this review will be based on this one, so don’t worry no comparisons here my friends. I didn’t want to really see the original at first, but after watching this, I really don’t want to. This script could have been so much better if it was written by Labute, but yet, I don’t know how funny it would have been either. The jokes in this are as tired as how you would feel after a funeral. We have too many poop gags, drug gags, sex gags, and overall just no sense of what’s even funny. The joke doesn’t work the first time, but they keep going on with it, and that’s what really sucks, cause it takes away from all the other possibly good jokes that could have came out.
The one thing that really intrigued me, is the ensemble cast that has some of my favorite African-American comedians, however their not funny. Chris Rock playing this straight-laced, hapless guy was really dumb, because he wasn’t convincing, and he does too much nose clinching, and wide-eyes to convey emotions, and after awhile, I was just sick of it. Martin Lawrence has put on a couple of good pounds, but isn’t funny at all, he has a couple of dirty sex jokes with him and this girl from high-school, and the jokes are about dead within the first minute of it. Tracy Morgan probably made me laugh once or twice, but he’s watered down by dumb poop jokes. Zoe Saldana, Regina Hall, and Loretta Divine are all good on their own time, but just fall fatal victim to the wrath of the gags. Luke Wilson‘s also here, and it looks like him and Martin Lawrence have been hanging out, as well as sharing lines, cause nothing’s really funny here either. The only ones that made ma laugh the most were James Marsden and Peter Dinklage, who were both under the influence in the movie, as well as Danny Glover‘s lines are hilarious. But notice that’s two white guys out of the whole cast, plus one, but those two are the funniest. Oh and Columbus Short, and my fav Keith David are here too, but their not as funny, as they could be.
Consensus: Death at a Funeral has a great ensemble cast full of the best comedy stars, but uses them for stale jokes, that are tired, as well as not funny, and used way too many times.
P.S Roger Ebert said this was the best comedy since “The Hangover”. Sorry Roger, love ya bro, but WTF were you smoking!??!