Sunday, March 6, 2011

Death at a Funeral (2010)

Why: It was on my wife's queue.


A farce based on a British film released just 3 years earlier, this film reached a decent audience when it was released last Spring. It opened fourth in a tight race behind KICK-ASS, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, and DATE NIGHT, at least two of which were better films, DATE NIGHT by a little, DRAGON by a lot. (I haven't seen KICK-ASS.) A farce in the classic vein, the action takes place in a single day when Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence's father's funeral is being held at home. The relationships in a family are always complex, which makes perfect fodder for farce. Rock and his wife Regina Hall are trying to get pregnant, but it's not quick enough for Rock's mother, Loretta Devine. Rock is an unpublished writer, while his 9-month-younger brother Lawrence is successful at publishing tripe. Cousin Zoe Saldana is engaged to James Marsden, who isn't good enough for father Ron Glass, who prefers Luke Wilson. Marsden accidentally ingests some hallucinogens created by Saldana's brother Columbus Short (from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip). And so on and so forth. Add in the standard stranger with a secret and the friction heats to the boiling point.

It was a fun time. I laughed out loud more than once. I won't watch it again, but it was worth the 90 minutes it ran. What I really appreciated about the film is that, despite the mostly-black cast, it didn't rely on racial stereotypes and broad humor for effect. The humor came out of situation and execution from the very likeable cast.

NetFlix rating: ***

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