34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Sneaks Up And Surprises You,
The great thing about DEATH AT A FUNERAL is that there really is something for everyone. From brief bathroom humor to dark jokes, it's all there, laid out by UK-born director Frank Oz.
The title itself is a bit misleading, in that you would think it to be more horror-ish or dramatic. The words "Death" and "Funeral" don't normally make you skip to the theater thinking "Oh boy! Let's go watch this funny movie!" For that, I would fault only the production person who stamped the name on it. But that would be my only one; one which has nothing to do with the rest of this riotously funny film.
Like a snake creeping upon its prey, Death at a Funeral also slowly makes its way along, never lurching or jumping ahead of itself, building the comedic moments one upon the other. Starting out (as all the trailers have shown) with Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen) standing in his livingroom, watching his father's coffin being delivered in preparation for a British homestyle service. But once the coffin is open, Daniel states, "That's not my father." The funeral home quickly whisks away the casket and returns with the right one. This gradual sinking in of dark comedy holds the film together exceptionally well.
We're then introduced to the rest of the cast...
Jane (Keeley Hawes, Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story), Daniel's wife who's pressuring him to buy a flat in the city and leave his now widowed mother with his successful brother in New York.
Simon (Alan Tudyk, Serenity), who is arriving at the funeral with his soon-to-be wife and is stressed about meeting (again) his future father-in-law, so is accidentally given a pill thought to be valium but, in reality, turns out to be a powerful hallucinogenic. This sends Simon on a running joke throughout the film, including periods of catatonia, color fascinations, and rooftop nudity.
Uncle Alfie (Peter Vaughan, KISS KISS BANG BANG), a crotchety old fart who's brought to the funeral in a wheelchair only to find himself with explosively needy bowels and the witness to a possible murder.
Peter (Peter Dinklage), a midget-of-a-man with big life aspirations who comes to the funeral not only to mourn the death of a close "friend," but to also get what "he deserves" from the family.
There are other perpetrators in the film, too, but these are the main ones who's paths cross just about everyone else's.
The film's short 90 minute run time is excellent in that none of the funnies are overdone. They have their moment and are either tossed aside or folded over into the film's grand finale. The number one folding in of jokes has to be the faux-valium pill bottle that gets lost and re-lost only to spring up at the most hilarious moments.
This is a laugh-a-minute film that has perfect comedic timing and crucial usage of British pompous humor, along with dark moments that will make watchers cringe and giggle at the same time.