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‘Death at a Funeral’ full of life

Death at a Funeral Starring: Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan Rating: R 3.5 out of 5 pitchforks

“Death at a Funeral” has given me a morbid desire that I never expected: I want to go to a funeral as exciting as this one. Because, at the risk of sounding macabre, I wish every funeral was this much fun.

This remake of a 2007 British film of the same name stars Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Martin Lawrence and Danny Glover as members of a dysfunctional family bound by love.

The late patriarch’s funeral forces the members to come together and face their differences, for better or worse, and this being a comedy, things start going wrong.

For starters, one of the characters is drugged for almost the entire movie with something described as “acid mixed with acid.” And to top it off, the late patriarch turns out to have been hiding a secret from his family. Let’s just say he likes the Broadway play “Dreamgirls” and leave it at that.

The cast gives as good a performance as one would expect. They deliver jokes with well practiced timing, which is not surprising from the likes of Rock and Morgan. Peter Dinklage gives a stand out performance as the late father’s estranged homosexual lover. The believability of them as a family falls short at times, but who cares? It’s all about the jokes.

Thankfully, “Death at a Funeral” is heavily loaded with them. Most of these are running gags that get old pretty quick, but overall, the movie is consistently funny, scoring high points on the laugh scale. The film has its best moments when Oscar (James Marsden), the accidentally drugged boyfriend, enjoys some acid-fueled shenanigans.

At its worst, the movie plays to the lowest common denominator. Luckily, these moments are few.

Another thing I found off-putting is how preachy the movie becomes toward the end. While I don’t find anything objectionable with the messages themselves (such as don’t judge people and follow your dreams), it’s too much like an after-school special compared with how zany the rest of the movie is.

Overall, “Death at a Funeral” is a good time and if you’re looking for a laugh, you’ll get your money’s worth. It may not be perfect but it gets the job done.

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