Death at a Funeral (2007)
R
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -4

Matthew MacFadyen, Peter Dinklage, Ewen Bremner, Rupert Graves. Comedy. Written by Dean Craig. Directed by Frank Oz.

FILM SYNOPSIS: This English dark comedy concerns a gay guy showing up at the funeral of a family man he claims was his secret lover. This causes tension among members of the dysfunctional family, who take drastic measures when he threatens blackmail.

PREVIEW REVIEW: At first I was reminded of the staid but outlandish English comedies of the 1950s, those satirical films released by Ealing Studios, which usually starred Peter Sellers and/or Alec Guinness. Like those pictures, Death at a Funeral contains a premise ripe for understated, mocking humor. Alas, its a different time and filmmakers and many filmgoers are more entertained the more a film becomes obsessed with crudeness. The humor quickly dwindles into lazy R-rated rudeness, much of it generated from shock value (I cant believe I just saw that.). For instance, theres the casket falling, the body tumbling out before an astonished group of mourners; a man accidentally getting stoned and taking off his clothes in front of said mourners; and the enfeebled old man needing help onto a toilet. That scene leads to the most graphic depiction of excrement I can remember seeing in a movie. As gross as that sounds, a pretty, stylish-looking young woman sitting behind me laughed with the intensity of one who has just heard Abbott & Costellos "Whos On First". Different strokes.

Video Alternatives: Each of the following was made by Ealing Studios in the 1950s and contains irreverent but understated sophisticated humor and reminds us that comedy need not come solely from anatomical and scatological graphicness. Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob, and The Ladykillers (the 1955 version not the Tom Hanks remake of a few years back).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: MGM

Summary
Crude Language: Throughout
Obscene Language: Throughout
Profanity: Throughout, including the use of the f-word between the names Jesus and Christ. I found this blasphemous. It was uttered at least three times.
Violence: A nasty, blackmailing little person is set upon by those he has tried to blackmail. He is given several pills, thinking they are simply muscle relaxants, but they really are high potency narcotics. He also falls, hitting his head.
Sexual Intercourse: Theres a great deal of sexual innuendo and double entendres. We learn that the dead man had a secret life, the blackmailer being his gay lover.
Nudity: A man is high on drugs, thinking they were only muscle relaxers. He strips off his clothes and we see him naked from behind in several scenes.
Homosexual Conduct: The premise concerns a deceased family man with a secret homosexual life.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Throughout
Drug Abuse: Drinking. Several people get stoned, thinking they are only taking Valium, when in reality it is a form of LSD.
Other: Graphic crude situations, such as a man getting covered in human feces.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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