Starring: Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Rupert Graves
Director: Frank Oz
Running Time: 90 mins
Death At A Funeral is a British film about a family who gathers for the funeral of their patriarch, however the unexpected arrival of a man who plans to reveal a secret about him throws the ceremony into chaos.
As a simple slapstick comedy, this is a pretty fun watch, however it’s a movie that proves somewhat of a missed opportunity for some really impressive laughs. Given its funeral setting, this would have been the perfect place for some really good dark comedy, and although the lighter, sillier stuff that is present here is entertaining throughout, it’s not quite enough to fully impress.
Let’s start off on the bright side, however, with the lighter comedy that makes the film a good laugh from beginning to end. Again, while the funeral setting may initially suggest some darker and more downbeat humour, the fact that the film starts out with its rather manic slapstick-style humour works well for a bit of shock value, and its consistently funny nature throughout the film proves the film’s best trait, making me properly laugh a good few times throughout.
Another plus comes in the shape of the performances, which are almost all a lot of fun to watch. Matthew Macfadyen does a good job at keeping a calm head in the midst of all the chaos that unfolds throughout the story, while the likes of Rupert Graves, Andy Nyman and especially Alan Tudyk all prove fantastically entertaining throughout, with their strong comedic performances bringing good energy to the film.
All of that makes Death At A Funeral an ultimately good watch, but that’s simply as a slapstick comedy, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect a little more from this movie.
Above all, it’s the fact that a movie surrounding a family at a funeral should be ample opportunity for some blacker, more biting comedy. Sure, the chaos that we see when family members who always clash is pretty funny, but rather than just cringeworthy and awkward humour, I felt that all the ingredients were there for something a little bit more impressive and dark, yet unfortunately the opportunity isn’t really taken.
Finally, the film’s story isn’t all that engrossing either. Rather than being an overall piece, it’s more of an episodic collection of mishaps throughout that the main characters have to resolve somehow or other, and although most prove rather funny, the overall story structure is a little too detached and a little too shallow to see things really work well.
Overall, I did enjoy Death At A Funeral, albeit solely as a simple slapstick comedy. It’s got some great performances and some great laughs, but I can’t help but feel that it’s a bit of a missed opportunity for something a bit darker and a bit more memorable, which is why I’m giving it a 7.4.