There’s something to be said about remakes, I know. And over the course of the nearly 4-year existence of Film School Rejects, we’ve said a lot about them. Overall, the sentiment we all seem to feel is a negative one. We question whether Hollywood is even interested in having original ideas, and celebrate those rare movies that aren’t derived from something made in another time. But rarely do we see such a quick turnaround on a remake (outside the horror genre) as we do with Neil LaBute’s Death at a Funeral.
The original Death at a Funeral, directed by Frank Oz, starred Brit Matthew McFayden as a man who dealing with the death of his father by trying to wrangle together his hysterical mother, his playboy brother (Rupert Graves) and a host of ridiculous guests. This included, oddly enough, a hilariously drugged Alan Tudyk getting naked and ending up on the roof and a mysterious little man (Peter Dinklage) who tries to blackmail the family with some risque revelations about the dead father. The film, in a word, was brilliant.
This new Death at the Funeral finds a new American set of brothers (Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence) in the same situation. And this time they’ve got their hot sister (Zoe Saldana) who is bringing her Alan Tudyk-like boyfriend (James Marsden) to the funeral. Tracey Morgan is the cousin escorting the crazy uncle (Danny Glover), and Loretta Devine as their hysterical mother. And once again, Peter Dinklage is back as a mysterious stranger with some interesting stories of their father.
The obvious problem is that this film is a direct knock-off of a film released 3 years earlier. Though, I’m almost convinced that the premise is so funny, that it just might work. It all rests in execution, which is questionable based on this trailer. The assembled cast for the LaBute remake is very solid, despite the fact that James Marsden is no Alan Tudyk. For a remake that sounded like the worst idea in history when it was announced, it has achieved a bit of credibility with this trailer. As always, we’ll wait and see how it all turns out.
Death at a Funeral hits theaters April 16, 2010. The trailer below is courtesy of Yahoo Movies and Screen Gems.