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Death at a Funeral
Not the romantic British romp you may be used to
Death at a Funeral
Matthew Macfadyen Stars in "Death at a Funeral".
OPENING WEEKEND: $11,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $39,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

December 7th, 2006: The death of Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen) and Robertís (Rupert Graves) father brings their entire dysfunctional family together to mourn his passing. When a man shows up at the funeral threatening to reveal the deceased manís shocking secret unless he gets some cash, the two brothers are forced to figure out a way to deal with the blackmailer. As they pull out every stop to try and prevent any news from spreading to the guests, the ceremony turns into complete chaos.

What to Expect: After failing at the blockbuster with his remake of the science-fiction comedy The Stepford Wives, Frank Oz takes a drastically low-budget approach toward his latest project. Although he may be known to many as the voice of Yoda in the Star Wars series or for voicing Muppets like Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear, Oz has actually been a fairly prominent and respected director for over 20 years. Among his many features, there are several notable titles, including Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, What About Bob?, In & Out, Bowfinger, and The Score. Looking at that list, however, one will not spot any farcical British comedies like Death at a Funeral so it seems only natural to say that the film represents somewhat of a departure for the director. While it is true that he has never attempted to make any comedies in that traditional British tone, Oz was actually born in England so this sort of thing should be in his blood. He may have been dying to get out of him for some time now.

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The protagonist in the picture and the moral center in this turbulent situation is Daniel, who is played by Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice). Heís the everyman who wants nothing more than to give his father the proper funeral. As the tension in the situation escalates he tries hard to remain sane, but thatís difficult when heís constantly being pushed by his rotten brother Robert, played by Rupert Graves (The Madness of King George, V for Vendetta). Reportedly, both actors are excellent in their parts and have fantastic chemistry together. Alan Tudyk (Serenity, Firefly) delivers a hilariously physical performance that relies heavily on the brilliance of his ingenious facial expressions.


His character in the film ingests a hallucinogen, gets completely smashed, and spends most of the time running around naked like a madman.


The 4-foot tall Peter Dinklage (Elf, The Station Agent) reportedly represents another inspired bit of casting. Without spoiling anything, having a person of his stature play his part makes the humor so much more wonderful. Males definitely get to have more fun in the flick than females, but Daisy Donovan (Spice World, Millions) reportedly does a stellar job with her character. While she gives a fully realized performance, her character still gets to react more to the humor than generate some of her own. Either way, it sounds like Death at a Funeral strongly benefits from a spectacularly well-matched cast where everyone gels and everyone contributes something to the story.

Audiences at the early test screenings have supposedly had a rousing good time. Frank Oz is on top of his game here even though he has never attempted a zany British comedy in this vein before. By balancing both physical and dialogue-driven humor throughout the picture, he seems to know exactly how to sustain the laughs. This is a total farce that includes nudity, bizarre sexual situations, and people desperately trying to conceal something they should not be doing. On top of everything, the picture actually manages to generate a lot of suspense with the ďblackmailĒ storyline. The title suggests that there may be more than one death and indeed a lot of the characters find themselves in potentially dangerous situations. Thereís a lot of fun in trying to figure out who may actually end up getting killed.

In Conclusion: Overall, the early buzz for Death at a Funeral has been phenomenal. It appears that the comedy delivers on the humor and also generates some thrills from the storyís more suspenseful moments. As long as audiences donít shy away from the sounds of British accents and from the filmís gloomy-sounding title, the flick could certainly go on to become a surprising little hit. This should be one of those entertaining ensemble pieces where the ideas, the structure, the timing, and the performances all combine together to produce an entertaining, highly potent, and energy-filled experience.

Similar Titles: A Fish Called Wanda, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
August 17th, 2007 (limited)
February 26th, 2008 (DVD)


Frank Oz

Matthew Macfayden, Rupert Graves, Peter Dinklage, Alan Tudyk, Daisy Donovan, Kris Marshall, Andy Nyman, Jane Asher, Ewen Bremner

Total: 107 vote(s).

Comedy, Drama

Click here to view site

Rated R for language and drug content

90 min






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