Death At A Funeral: Hollywood News review July 2007

Death at a Funeral (2007) from Hollywood News by Victoral Alexander 12 July 2007

Starts off as a sedate British comedy, until the drugs kick in.

Stars: Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Graves, Andy Nyman, Daisy Donovan, Peter Egan, Ewan Bremner.
Directed by Frank Oz
Grade: B

Reviewed by Victoria Alexander on Tue Jul 8th, 2007

At first, "Death" appears to be a sedate British comedy. Children and friends have gathered at a gorgeous manor house for the wake. In charge of the affair is Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen), son of the deceased. He wants to be an author like his famous brother Robert (Rupert Graves), but still lives with his now widowed mother in the family home with his wife, Jane (Keeley Hawes). She wants them to move to the city and buy a flat of their own. Sandra (Jane Asher), Daniel's mother, is hysterical with grief but delighted to see Robert, who has just flown in from New York City.

The mourners gather at the house. Cousin Martha (Daisy Donovan) brings her boyfriend, Simon (Alan Tudyk), who is disliked for no good reason by her father, Victor (Peter Egan). Martha and Simon have stopped by to pick up her brother Troy (Kris Marshall), who has just cooked up a fancy mix of LSD, Ketamine and DMT. Martha gives Simon one of the pills believing it is a valium.

Daniel's friends Howard (Andy Nyman) and Justin (Ewen Bremner) pick up cranky Uncle Alfie (Peter Vaughan). Martha once had a drunken fling with Justin and he thinks he is in love with her. Things go along as well as can be expected until a tiny man no one knows, Peter (Peter Dinklage), turns up.

As Simon starts hallucinating and causes a major disruption that temporarily halts the proceedings, Troy loses the bottle of pills.

Peter tells Daniel that he has some information and needs to see him in private. What he tells Daniel sets off a chain of events that are quite drastic and funny.

This comedy could only be set in Britain where decorum is the norm. Director Frank Oz stays out of the way allowing the British cast (except Alan Tudyk and Dinklage) to slowly develop their characters. In fact, this is the only Oz comedy I ever liked. The pace picks up once Dinklage arrives. I have a new appreciation of Dinklage. He walks off with the movie. I'm not going to reveal the twist that sends this comedy into slapstick or what happens when Uncle Alfie needs to use the "facilities" – I covered my eyes.