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Death at a Funeral movie poster

Death at a Funeral: Movie Review

Rated: R
Directed by: Neil LaBute
Starring: Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, James Marsden, Regina Hall, Tracy Morgan, Luke Wilson, Columbus Short, Peter Dinklage, Danny Glover, Loretta Devine, Keith David
Released by: Screen Gems

In Short: If not for James Marsden’s inspired performance, “Death at a Funeral” would be a total bust, with wooden acting, ridiculous plot lines and not-funny jokes derailing this would-be comedy.

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All-Star Comedy Cast Wasted in this Remake

Thank goodness for James Marsden! You may know him as Cyclops from the “X-Men” movies, or as Prince Edward from “Enchanted”; this time out, he’s the sole savior of the new “comedy” “Death at a Funeral.”

Which is a pretty sad statement considering that the all-star cast of the film is a group known for being very funny. Just not in this movie.

From Chris Rock, who delivers his lines like he’s the worst actor in a junior high school play, to Martin Lawrence, who spends the whole movie mugging at the camera, the acting is a disaster. A puffy-looking Luke Wilson bumbles his way through, Danny Glover is actually given the line “I’m too old for this s---” while sitting on a toilet, Loretta Devine vamps her way through every scene and even the usually hilarious Tracy Morgan is at a loss to wring a single laugh out of this dead-in-the-water script.

Zoe Saldana and James Marsden in Death at a Funeral Martin Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Tracy Morgan and Chris Rock in Death at a Funeral

The 2007 movie of the same name was set in England with a white family as the protagonists (and was actually funny), while this remake takes place in Los Angeles featuring a black family whose patriarch has passed away. As the family gathers for the funeral, James Marsden, as Zoe Saldana’s partner in a biracial romance, provides the only laughs in this DOA comedy.

He inadvertently takes a hallucinogenic just as the funeral begins, and as the drug kicks in, he gets loopier and loopier, and funnier and funnier, culminating in his removing all of his clothes and climbing on the roof of the house. That vision is worth the price of admission (he’s one good-looking male specimen), as is his whole performance. Well, maybe worth the price of a rental, as this bomb may be found on video store shelves soon.


Reviewed by Jenny Peters

(Updated 10/12/10 CT)

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