Death at a Funeral Can't Win 'Em All

Some critics love offbeat comedy remake, some hate it
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2010 1:50 PM CDT

Critics are decidedly split on Death at a Funeral, Chris Rock’s remake of a British farce that’s a scant 3 years old. Here’s what they’re saying:

  • Death at a Funeral is proof that a well-made screenplay is indestructible,” writes Ty Burr of the Boston Globe. It’s sloppily directed, and Rock is miscast, yet it’s still funny, because “the sight of a raging, drug-addled dwarf rising from a coffin is a comedy gift that keeps on giving.”

  • It was a raunchy movie in poor taste, and Roger Ebert loved it, he writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. “I don't laugh at movies where the characters are deliberately being vulgar. But when they desperately don't want to be—now that's funny.”
  • But Justin Chang of Variety found it “a strained, mirthless remake of a comedy that wasn't terribly funny to begin with.” Its producer seems to believe that “outrageous situations, presented with minimal flair, preparation or timing, will yield automatic hilarity.”
  • “The movie's MO is taking an unfunny joke—like its big scatological gross-out scene—and beating it to death,” agrees Walter Addiego of the San Francisco Chronicle . “There's a lot of talent here, but not much to show for it.”
(Read more Death at a Funeral stories.)

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