Don’t take life too seriously, conveys ‘Death At A Funeral’

March 1st, 2008 - 9:44 am ICT by admin  

(Film Review)
By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “Death At A Funeral”; Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Graves, Peter Dinklage; Director: Frank Oz; Ratings: ** Funerals can be funny. Rahul Rawail tried to prove it last year in “Buddha Mar Gaya” where Anupam Kher played the tycoon’s corpse with secrets popping out of the coffin. The movie crashed at the box office.

I can’t decide who’s more expressive as a corpse, Anupam in Rawail’s failed farce or the British gentleman who played the dead patriarch of a British royal family in the movie.

It’s hard not to smile and even chuckle at the excesses of a funeral crowd who don’t seem to get it right. The inter-relations are formed quickly and that’s saying a lot in a film that has approximately three dozen characters in various postures of mourning and panting.

There’s some puffing involving cigarettes and other unmentionable objects.

Ten minutes into the comedy, and you’re hooked to hectic hilarity as characters drive into leafy lanes of a British town to attend the funeral.

Frank Oz’s character oozes irreverence and iconoclasm without seeming to. They’re nutty and cracked, goofy and ribald.

There’s a man high on Valium romping naked on the roof of the mourners’ residence. There’s a dwarf claiming with photographic evidence to be the dead tycoon’s secret gay lover.

There’s a vain novelist from New York who scorns his Britain-based brother for being a home bird. There’re immediate instigations and profound provocations jostling for space.

Titters are tucked away in the farcical folds of this done-to-death-comedy that tells you it’s okay to laugh in the face of death and old age.

Finally, as all you’ve to show for it is an inert figure in a coffin and a house full of self-seeking hyper-selfish relatives orchestrated by a priest who has another appointment around the “coroner”.

The film features a sparkling array of acting talent. Watch out for Peter Dinklage, who seems saddled with shit in more ways than one. And Alan Tudyk, romping naked among mourners preserves a core of dignity in the ludicrous.

That, I think, is the secret of this comedy’s success. “Death At Funeral” laughs at the living rather than the dead. It tells us that we don’t need to fear mortality but the danger of taking life a tad too seriously.

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