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Death at a Funeral is a British ensemble piece taking place on the day of the funeral. The deceased's extended family come in for the service, and at first it seems like the problems they're having are pretty typical; Simon (Alan Tudyk) is marrying the deceased's niece and is afraid of what her father thinks of him. A family friend is still in love with said niece. The deceased's nephew is cooking drugs in his flat...hang on, that's weird. Let's move elsewhere.

The dead man had two sons, Daniel (Matthew Macfayden) and Robert (Rupert Graves). Robert is a successful novelist who lives in New York, while Daniel is trying to write, but also trying to get out of his parents' (very large) house and hopes to send his mother to live with Robert.

Anyway, aside from Simon accidentally taking a powerful hallucinogen thinking it's Valium, everything goes more or less OK until Peter (Peter Dinklage) shows up and reveals that the deceased was, well, gay. He threatens to show off the photos of he and the deceased unless he gets money, and then everything goes utterly pear-shaped.

This movie is really damned funny. The cast is perfect, plays nicely off each other, and no one mugs (maybe Tudyk, a little, but his performance isn't purely comic; his scenes where he's trying to cope with the drugs are funny, but at the same time you feel for the poor fucker). Dinklage is amazing and although what he's doing is pretty slimy, you get the sense that he really did love the deceased and that he truly feels cheated that he wasn't left anything in the will. The resolution is good, doesn't feel too pat, and the movie ends on a fun note. It's black comedy, but it doesn't descend into utter horror like Very Bad Things.

I have not seen the American version, but I'd like to, just to see the contrast.

My grade: A
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Death to Smoochy

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January 2013

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