Death at a Funeral is a remake of an English film from 2007. The original was a raunchy comedy, the kind quite common in American cinema, only set at a proper British wake. The 2010 version, helmed by Neil LaBute, changes the original script to portray the funeral at a mostly black family gathering. An all star cast including Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence as brothers, Zoe Saldana, James Marsden, Danny Glover, Tracey Morgan and Luke Wilson, among others. Peter Dinklage who co-starred in the 2007 version plays the same part here.
Allow me to digress, when I saw the 2007 DAAF I also saw, in the same month, Shrek the Third a remake of sorts and Ocean’s Thirteen a sequel to a remake. Once, A Mighty Heart and Evan Almighty are some of the other films that were playing. On the same day in June 2007 that I saw Death at a Funeral I also saw Ratatouille. which while quite an original conception still has the repeat combo of Disney and a mouse.
Before seeing the new version of DAAF you have to wonder why anyone would remake a film after only three years in the same language no less. Seeing is believing. This film deserves to be remade and remade over and over it’s so funny. Take Martin Lawrence a really funny guy who’s prone to appearing in gross-out comedies. Here Martin’s subdued and even funnier without the benefit of poop jokes or fat lady make-up. In all fairness DAAF does have one big poop joke and as you can guess Morgan gets to literally handle that task. Saldana adds luster to the project and Marsden, playing the guy who unknowingly takes acid and freaks out during the ulogy, displays cool comedy chops, even if his rendition of “Amazing Grace” is taken directly from the Jim Carrey playbook.
The 2007 DAAF used a tagline about putting the fun back in the funeral. Death at a Funeral, the new version, will give you laughs aplenty. But the important thing is that the film knows what it wants in the way of comedy and goes directly to that funny bone, and that’s not something that cannot be said for typical studio comedies like Date Night.