Death at a Funeral
Review By: Gringo

Oh, Frank Oz, what went wrong?

You used to be amusing. Your turn as Cookie Monster back in the days before Sesame Street got all sanitized was frequently LOL-rific, as any simple YouTube search for "cookie monster sesame street" can reveal. Yeah, that was the time when old Mr. Monster was snarky and selfish, not the neutered blue rug of today that whimpers, "Cookies are a sometimes food" while advocating the benefits of eating vegetables (hint: gas).

Most of your directing efforts to date have been gems, including Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bowfinger, What About Bob?, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. We'll ignore the 2004 turdball The Stepford Wives because I'm feeling kind.

Even your turn in the original Blues Brothers movie -- not the sucky sequel which revolved around child molestation and voodoo zombie stupidity -- was funny. You're a witty guy. You know what comedy is. So, my question to you: what the hell possessed you to get hold of the script for Death at a Funeral and think it was worth filming?

The ghost of Frank Oz's comedy past comes crashing in to the room

Were you being ironic in labeling this as a "comedy"? Because it's hard to find anything to even titter about, let alone roll on the proverbial floor laughing.

The movie centers around, you guessed it, a funeral. A bunch of uptight English stereotypes gather to pay their last respects to the patriarch of a family of the type I generally can't stand. That is, they have money. Everyone is perfectly turned out in crisp, expensive clothes, and the funeral is held in the palatial, spotless country manor where a bunch of the main characters grew up. It's a far cry from the outhouse that I was raised in, which incidentally also doubled as my father Mumbly Bamford's Olde Potato & Mystery Meat Pie Shoppe. Everyone arrives at the funeral...and then the unfunny begins.

Everything is just either lame or predictable, and feels like it was written by a 75-year-old. The daughter of the dead guy has brought her fiancÚ, a very shy retiring type. On the way to the funeral, they stop off at her brother's house. He's a 20-something, so, naturally he's all wacky and into making drugs. The brother accidentally takes one and then starts going batshit crazy -- the kind of batshit crazy "oh wow I'm on drugs" that only happens in the movies when written by someone who has neither taken drugs nor been around anyone who has taken drugs. Examples! The drugged-up guy sits around pulling faces, screaming and then inexplicably takes his clothes off. Ooh, those drugs!

Naked on a rooftop! Oh, those zany drug addicts!

Other highlights of unfunny: a midget shows up (haha! Small people are funny to look at!) revealing he had a hot gay sex life with the dead father (haha! Gay sex is a joke!), leading the two sons of the father to plot to bribe him to keep silent. Okay. Then the midget hits his head and seemingly dies (haha? This is getting odd) so the brothers decide to bury him with the dead father (uh...Frank, what's going on?).

Sure, this could be handled in a funny way under the right direction and with the right script, but this movie doesn't even try. There's a lot of seriously unfunny attempts at farce with people almost seeing the dead body, and the daughter character trying to hide her naked, insano husband-to-be from the family. It's just so tragically unfunny. It's so bad they even had to insert a poo gag. At one point, some fat man has to take a decrepit old grandfather character to the toilet, where the grandfather proceeds to crap all over the fatty's hands. Shit on the fingers! Hilarious!

All this to say that if you find yourself in the situation I was -- that is, you like Frank Oz's work and you're browsing Netflix looking for something to add to your DVD queue -- run like the clappers from this sorry mess of a "comedy." Along with the dead father character, this movie should have been buried six feet under.


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