Death at a Funeral (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner01/11/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Death at a Funeral has a great cast and a suitably chaotic plot but it's never quite as funny as it thinks it is.

What's it all about?
Directed by Frank Oz, Death at a Funeral stars Matthew Macfadyen as Daniel, an aspiring author trying to arrange his father's funeral and dreading the arrival of his famous-novelist brother Robert (Rupert Graves). On the morning of the funeral, the family and friends arrive, with Daniel's cousin Martha (Daisy Donovan) anxious to make a good impression, but things quickly go wrong when it transpires that her fiance Simon (Alan Tudyk) has accidentally ingested a massive hallucinogen cooked up by her ne'er-do-well brother (Kris Marshall).

On top of that, Robert's arrival is every bit as irritating as Daniel had feared and the two brothers are soon at each other's throats, until a mysterious guest (Peter Dinklage) threatens to blackmail them with a sordid family secret.

The Good
The film's biggest strength is its excellent cast, all of whom spark off each other nicely, although Andy Nyman's character seems like a bit of a waste of space. Macfadyen is excellent as the frazzled brother trying to hold everything together and Graves is suitably smarmy as Robert.

Oz directs in a breezy style that keeps everything moving at a decent pace and the script piles on enough wacky contrivances to prevent us from getting bored. There's also a real sense of stiff-upper-lipped Britishness that somehow keeps everything grounded in reality, despite the ridiculousness of what's going on.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that despite all the ingredients being in place (hallucinating naked man, incontinent octogenarian, etc), the film is never actually all that funny. Frankly, when even the reliable old stand-by of the toilet gag fails to raise a chuckle then you know you're in trouble.

Worth seeing?
In short, Death at a Funeral is entirely watchable but it's not the riotous laugh-fest it thinks it is. Still, it is at least more fun than an actual funeral, so that's something.

Film Trailer

Death at a Funeral (15)
Death at a Funeral has been reviewed by 2 users
image
01 What We Do In The Shadows (tbc)

Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh

image
02 Serena (15)

Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper

image
03 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (tbc)

Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Ed ...

image
04 The Second Best Marigold Hotel (12)

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Richard Ger...

image
05 Home (PG)

Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez

Content updated: 31/10/2014 12:45

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Mr Turner (15)

Mike Leigh directs Timothy Spall in this exploration of the latter half of renowned painter J.M.W.Turner's life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films