Death at a Funeral
Not how I would expect sunrise to be announced but whatever floats your boat.

Theatrical Release Date: 08/17/2007
Director: Frank Oz
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Alan Tudyk, Daisy Donovan, Kris Marshall, Peter Dinklage, Andy Nyman, Ewan Bremner

Often, promotional materials like trailers and posters make note of a director’s previous work in case audiences aren’t familiar with their name.

In the case of Frank Oz’s “Death at a Funeral”, they’ve decided to market it behind his effort on “Bowfinger”. I can’t be alone in thinking that’s just poor marketing. He did “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” for Pete’s sake … there’s a Steve Martin film I can appreciate.

Oh well, at least I know Oz’s better directorial efforts and, perhaps more importantly, as the voice behind so many Muppets and even Yoda from that little franchise called “Star Wars”.

With “Death at a Funeral”, Oz has created a classically British comedy about outrageous and morbidly funny events happening during a funeral ceremony.

The characters are zany and brought to life very well for the most part, utilizing a great comedic cast that includes Alan Tudyk, Peter Dinklage and Kris Marshall.

My initial misgivings about the central character (Macfadyen) are somewhat relieved by the script, not calling for him to actually do much but act like he’s lost amongst the sea of talent around. Anyone who’s seen “Pride & Prejudice” knows what kind of bland performance I had been expecting.

Aside from his character though, the motley crew that gathers to pay their respects all have their own peccadilloes and oddities that elevate this from a simply droll, British comedy to something a tad more.

That’s not to say this is the funniest comedy I’ve seen lately. I saw the jokes coming fourteen miles away and was more astounded by the audience I was with, snickering and gasping at completely predictable events, than at anything the filmmakers came up with.

Still, there’s a lot of heart in the film and it’s a fairly well done ensemble comedy. If you like your humor imported from across the pond and are okay with seeing Alan Tudyk bare his backside, then you’ll enjoy this film.

I’m giving “Death at a Funeral” a 3 out of 5, maybe seeing it with an audience that was less surprised by what I consider a paint-by-numbers comedy would have improved my mood. The performances are good and this is more of a rent than a must-see, which is one way of saying that I wouldn’t die if I had missed this one … get it? Because it’s about a funeral … oh, stop rolling your eyes …