Death at a Funeral Frank Oz

Death at a Funeral Frank Oz
Nothing leads to laughter quite like attending a funeral, well, inappropriate, stifled laughter anyways. Death At A Funeral transforms these awkward laughs into a surprisingly traditional farce. All the classic genre beats are here: misunderstandings, infidelity, slapstick and an ever-escalating pace. Change the setting to a wedding and the script could have played on stage centuries ago. While this leads to an unfortunate level of predictability, an outstanding ensemble cast and brisk direction by former muppeteer Frank Oz prevent the movie from ever becoming boring. Dean Craig’s script has a distinctly English feel, finding most of the laughs in British family values and the comedy of the cringe. Veteran Brit actors like Andy Nyman, Ewen Bremner and Daisy Donovan comprise a wealthy family who converge for a father’s funeral. The entire cast perform admirably but ironically, the real scene-stealers are the only American actors: Alan Tudyk (Dodgeball, Knocked Up) and Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent), who play an accidentally drugged fiancée and the deceased patriarch’s secret lover, respectively. Both of these underrated actors contribute arguably the finest performances of their careers and milk every second of screen time to make the movie their own. Frank Oz’s direction is effective and unobtrusive; his visual style is lacking, however, but is perfectly acceptable for this type of character comedy. Death At A Funeral is not a movie that can be accused of breaking new ground; it’s merely an unpretentious comedy designed to entertain. The DVD mirrors the filmmakers’ modest ambitions, providing only two commentary tracks and outtakes for extras. The gag reel might be a hilarious relic for the cast but it does nothing for anyone outside of the production. Frank Oz’s boring commentary merely describes what’s happening on screen, while the actors and writers’ commentary is an unapologetic ass-kiss-fest. Fortunately, the sub-par extras are overshadowed by a movie that delivers 90 minutes of consistent laughs, including arguably the finest poo joke in years. (Alliance Films)