Review: Top Five

Chris-Rock-and-Rosario-Dawson-in-NYC-in-Top-Five-Movie-Film-2014

DIR/WRI: Chris Rock • PRO: Eli Bush, Barry Diller, Scott Rudin • DOP: Manuel Alberto Claro • ED: Anne McCabe • MUS: Ludwig Göransson, Ahmir-Khalib Thompson • DES: Richard Hoover • CAST: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union

Chris Rock’s latest film Top Five incorporates elements of Woody Allen, Richard Linklater and Noah Baumbach. However, it is not so much the comedian’s taste in auteurs that makes this his most valiant effort as a director as it is the fact that it’s his most personal, which helps it  transcend to something more special. Shot on location in New York, we are dropped into the day of a life of a comic star named Andre Allen (Rock), who rushes around the city in an attempt to plug his new motion picture. He is shadowed by journalist Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson), who tries to pick his brain for the day. A former stand up turned hack actor, Andre has fallen victim to the celebrity culture that has poisoned the docile masses. It was wise of Rock not to delve too deep into social commentary regarding media sensationalism because it leaves so much room for his strengths; observational comedy and character.

 

Top Five flaunts an eclectic group of characters; an inquisitive journalist, a bodyguard with a fetish for XL ladies, a seedy Texan concert promoter, a drunken sad-eyed father and a boyfriend who’s a finger enthusiast. It’s as if a compilation of Richard Pryor characters migrated from the stage to the screen and the way the dialogue is spoken you can tell that this flick was penned by a stand up. It’s conversational comedy that flows so naturally with a range of topics ranging from an outlandish Planet of the Apes theory to Charlie Chaplin to the top five rappers (the premise for the film’s title).

 

Although the movie is reminiscent of Funny People, which also portrayed another stand up turned Hollywood hack (Sandler’s version hit a little more close to home), it is nowhere as ambitious or complex as Judd Apatow’s opus. However, this doesn’t exactly hurt the movie because Rock isn’t as seasoned a filmmaker as Apatow and he wisely keeps it simple, which is the charm of this film. Top Five certainly borrows many themes from Funny People, but because Rock brings his own flavour and pace to it, the movie works. The idea to set the film around one day creates a sense of authenticity for the audience, making us feel that we are hanging with these characters as they roam through the hustle and bustle of NYC.

 

Top Five utilises two great sequences to great effect. The first is an anecdote from Andre describing to Chelsea when his alcoholism reached rock bottom. He illustrates how a night in Houston transformed from an erotic dream come true into a seedy soaked nightmare (literally) involving two four legged hookers and a sleazy concert promoter (played wonderfully by Cedric the Entertainer). The events are raw in their raunchiness, but not done in bad taste giving Andre’s conclusion.

 

The second sequence is a masterful stretch when Andre visits his friends and family in the projects where he spent his childhood. It’s a rich sequence of comedy, character and naturalistic dialogue that feels like it is in no hurry to end. Rock brings the audience on a detour, taking a break from the plot and Andre’s busy schedule, allowing us time to enjoy the small talk. We get a glimpse into Andre’s roots that evoke memories of a simpler time of his life before the media frenzy and artistic pressures.

 

Andre and Chelsea stray from his entourage and ramble through the streets by themselves welcoming in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Their relationship grows throughout the day and a connection begins to surface. They are both recovering alcoholics, which is depicted in a hazy scene when the two saunter slowly through a liquor store brushing their fingertips across the bottles that contain their inner demons. The way it was shot reminded me of Godard’s portrayal of outcasts floating through the cracks of normal society. A nicely fitted third act twist stagnates their oncoming attraction, allowing for some space and an introduction of great cameos from three comedians and a growling rapper before climaxing with a Cinderella story ending.

 

Here’s a movie that indulges all my obsessions; cinema, hip-hop, stand-up, and is done in such a casual and authentic manner that it doesn’t feel forced. It’s well written, boasts an array of fantastic dynamic characters and above all it’s very funny. After a second viewing it grew on me even more as I focused more on subtle poignant moments like when Andre meets his father or when his fiance desperately explains to him that her lack of any talent propels her to do reality television. It would appear that third time’s a charm for Chris Rock, finally finding his cinematic venom. Guess there’s only one more thing for me to say:

 

  1. DJ Quik
  2. Ghostface Killah
  3. Nas
  4. Ice Cube
  5. Kool G Rap

Cormac O’Meara

16 (See IFCO for details)

101 minutes
Top Five is released 8th May 2015

Top Five – Official Website

 

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Cinema Review: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

DIR: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon WRI: Eric Darnell, Noah Baumbach • PRO: Mireille Soria, Mark Swift • ED: Nick Fletcher • DES: Kendal Cronkhite • CAST:  Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted reunites the menagerie of loveable critters for a third time as we join them on their Wizard of Oz quest to return home.

There’s Alex the willful lion (Ben Stiller), Marty, the eternally enthusiastic zebra (Chris Rock), Melman, the dizzy giraffe (David Schwimmer), Gloria, the big sister hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and King Julien, the bear- infatuated lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen).

The film kicks off with a spectacular chase through Monte Carlo as the gang evades the deliciously boo-guaranteed police chief Capitaine Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), who also happens to be a big-game hunter  and there’s some empty space on her walls that need to be filled with animal heads. Arghhh.

From here the animals hook up with a circus and make their way across Europe in order to to impress a big promoter in Rome and earn themselves a booking in New York thereby returning to Central Park Zoo.

The film whizzes along at a tremendous pace fuelled with a fizzy-pop-drinking-child’s energy ripping through its riotous shenanigans and comedy capers with the right balance of set-ups, gags,one-liners and slapstick to keep things rollicking along

Th 3D is used to great effect throughout, particularly with the circus giving us a wop-bop-pow eye-popping sequence and should have most children singing ‘Circus afro, circus afro’ for the rest of the day. DreamWorks have recovered from their disappointing sequel and have nailed it with a big plastic hammer on this instalment.

In the words of the much maligned and missed New Kids on the Block ‘This One’s for the Children‘.

One thing’s for sure – there’s no fear of any bored kids in the cinema with the posse from Magdagascar 3 in front of them, which means Daddy can nip out for a beer.

Please note: Film Ireland do not condone nipping out for beers while leaving your children in the cinema.

Steven Galvin

Rated G (see IFCO website for details)
93 mins

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted  is released on 19th October 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted  –  Official Website

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Cinema Review: 2 Days in New York

DIR: Julie Delpy  WRI: Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon, Julie Delpy  PRO: Matthias Triebel  DOP: Lubomir Bakchev  ED: Julie Brenta, Isabelle Devinck  DES: Alexis Arnold  Cast: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon

2 Days In New York is the sequel to the 2007 film, 2 Days in Paris. Julie Delpy reprises her role as Marion, a French photographer living in New York with her boyfriend, here played by Chris Rock. Her family arrives from France on the eve of her exhibition where she plans to sell her soul for $10,000, along with her photographic work. The three of them – her father, sister and her sister’s ex-boyfriend – all stay in their small apartment rather than checking into a hotel. The film doesn’t necessarily follow an overall plot, rather it is simply two eventful days put into a film. The film’s structure, dialogue and even costume and set design is hugely reminiscent of Woody Allen films and isn’t done particularly well.

Delpy dresses, moves and speaks like Diane Keaton during her Annie Hall/Manhattan phase. Chris Rock gives a reigned-in and dignified performance that really does show how his range and how capable he can be, if properly motivated. The supporting cast is made up of Julie Deply’s real-life father, Albert Delpy – playing her father and Alexia Landeau and Alexandre Nahon, as her sister and her sister’s ex-girlfriend respectively. Delpy’s extended family are very much playing up French stereotypes. In other words, they’re obnoxious soap-dodgers who have no concept of social boundaries. As well as this, all of them are highly unlikable characters. The father is a doddering old man who keys cars that he doesn’t like. Alexandre Nahon, her sister’s ex-boyfriend, casually buys hash in front of children and Alexia Landeau’s character prances about their apartment barely dressed.
The film’s comedic set-pieces are bawdy and obvious. It continually focuses in on the cultural differences between Delpy’s French family and Rock’s somewhat reserved demeanour. The first few times are somewhat humorous, however it soon becomes the central theme throughout and becomes tiresome very quickly. As well, the dialogue is overly pretentious, one line in particular rankled heavily – ‘They (Delpy’s family) are like a reverse Waiting For Godot. Some of the visuals are impressive; Delpy photographs New York beautifully without it seeming unrealistic. Unfortunately, the comedy falls flat and the characters are poorly written and ill-defined. The relationship between Delpy and Rock is believable, Rock leads and anchors the film well. However, Delpy is playing a character and directing a film that has been done before. And done far better.
Brian Lloyd

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
2 Days in New York is released on 18th May 2012

2 Days in New York– Official Website

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Chris Rocks! Q & A with 'Good Hair' presenter

Chris Rock

South Carolina-born African American comedian Chris Rock grew up in Brooklyn, his first break arriving after Eddie Murphy cast him in his Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). He went on to work on Saturday Night Live, from 1990-93. His HBO comedy special Bring the Pain (1996) made him a household name in the US as well as earning him two Emmy awards. TV series The Chris Rock Show followed, which ran from 1997-2000, as did roles in Dogma, Beverly Hills Ninja, Lethal Weapon 4, Nurse Betty, The Longest Yard, Bad Company, Bee Movie and Madagascar, along with a starring role in Down to Earth. Rock has also worked behind the camera, both as a writer and director of Head of State (2003) and I Think I Love My Wife (2007). In 2005, he launched TV series Everybody Hates Chris, which ran for four seasons, winning several Emmys. He recently produced and starred in Death at a Funeral. Following the release of his first documentary, Good Hair, Rock is currently working on a documentary about debt called Credit is the Devil.

How was your presentation of Good Hair in Brixton a couple of weeks ago?

Great. It is that kind of movie. It just gets people talking. Some movies, after the movie is over you go and eat and you talk about the food, but you see a good movie, you are talking about the movie. This movie, you talk about it at the restaurant and when you drive home and talk about it at work the next day.

Do you think people are surprised that the film isn’t stuffed with comedy?

Hey, it’s funny. People who hear that I am doing a documentary A) they don’t believe me or think B) has he gone serious? Comedians go serious? Hell, no. And C) then there are some people who think I am just making fun of black women and their hair styles. No. It is a serious doc and is actually pretty funny in the way that a Michael Moore documentary is. It is quite informative. Black or white, you could enjoy it. You are going to learn a lot and see a lot. It is a large-scope documentary. It is travelling all over the United States and all over the world, to places like India.

Where did the seed idea come from, the Hair Show?

That’s right, the seed idea was actually The Hair Show. I had stumbled on to The Hair Show twenty years ago and I thought, ‘The Hair Show should have been a movie twenty years ago’. But twenty years ago they were not making these kinds of documentaries. I had this weird idea and I didn’t have a world in which to make it. Like the guy who wanted to go to the moon. Loopy. ‘What is he talking about, the moon?’ Cut to two years later. My daughters have a little hair issue and it kind of sparked this kernel of an idea up. Like ‘Oh, Man, I forgot all about that’ and so it made me go, ‘Okay, I think I am going to do that.’ The Hair Show is twice a year too so I knew I had to do it.

You could have done a good fictional movie on that hair show…

Actually, I never thought of making it fictional. I always thought what you see right here on the screen is what I always thought. I knew there was going to be funny documentaries before there were any. It is weird. I have actually got offers to make these kinds of films now. As far as fiction goes you could easily do the Jason Gregory story. You could do the white guy that comes from a small town and dreams of cutting black hair! That might be kind of funny. Owen Wilson could also do that. He could actually play Jason; he’s got the hair!

You mentioned your daughters having hair issues as a catalyst for the movie…

Yeah. She was just really enjoying her girlfriend’s hair. She was like, ‘But this is such good hair.

She used those words?

Yes. And I was like, ‘Baby your hair is beautiful. I like your hair much better than hers.’ Positive reinforcement. So that was what got me thinking about it. More so than anything it was my daughters. Otherwise I would have taken it for granted like everybody else.

You were quite careful to be objective in the film, and not to criticise people openly, like the woman who gives her three-year-old a perm…

The woman is wrong for putting the thing on the girl’s hair but does she think she is wrong? That is the thing. You can’t arrest somebody for speeding if there are no signs up, you know what I mean? She doesn’t know what’s wrong. She has probably got her own hair permed at a young age. I don’t want to make people feel bad and judgemental. I played it down the middle and I am really interested. It feels as though people want me to be mad at certain people in the movie. But has journalism and everything become so judgemental that we are not even used to seeing anything down the middle any more? We are coming up in an era where people don’t even know what objectivity is. You don’t really get in news any more. You get what is the right wing news or what is the left wing news. It’s weird. The news in the middle nobody watches. There are parts of the news are very objective but that bores the hell out of people.

Does the fact that so many black women want hair that belongs to non-black women upset you at all?

It makes you sad at the end of the film when these people live in such poverty, and make no money on selling their hair. Black women and their hair, it doesn’t make you sad. Kids, that makes me sad. Kids getting perms and kids learning these habits at a young age… I have daughters six and eight, and there’s no flaw on my daughters. That freaks me out, if someone would think that there is anything wrong with their kids. That stuff freaks me out. But otherwise it is, ‘Just let people do what they want to do.’

Whatever race or creed people are, they just want to look different…

Women get bored very easily. Do you know why some white women dye their hair blonde? Yet what’s the point? You are beautiful. It’s your own hair. But they go blonde. Millions and millions of them. Of all the white men I have met I would say ten per cent are blond at the very most. But most white women are blonde, so like eighty per cent of white women dye their hair blonde? It is crazy. I am going to assume that the same percentage of white men are blonde as women. There are not a lot of blonde guys. There are just not. It is rare. It actually sticks out, a blond guy. Unless you go to Norway or something, you don’t see it.

The TV series you produced, Everybody Hates Chris, what aspects were drawn from your own life, the hard working, strict father?

That was real. The mother was real and I am the oldest of seven, while we only had three of us on the show. But my brothers were always cooler than me, more athletic than me and I was the oldest so it was kind of weird. The younger ones are definitely cut a lot more slack. As the older one, you are an explorer. You are knocking down walls and they walk through them.

Did the comedy come from the fact that you were picked on at school for being a minority or did come from being at home with the family and being happy?

I don’t know. Maybe both. I was small too. Half of whatever happened to me happened because I was just a skinny kid. A skinny kid is going to get their ass beat anyway so I if I was a skinny white kid I probably would have the shit kicked out of me too.

When you were at school, apart from wanting to leave, what did you want to do?

I wanted to be a comedy writer even back then. There were black comedy writers but the only black people I ever saw in comedy were comedians. Writer? That seemed so foreign. Writer? I don’t know any writers. I had never seen a black writer; it was like being an Eskimo or something.

And now, you still consider yourself a comedian first and foremost?

Yes. I am a comedian. fever. No matter what.

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)

Good Hair was released on 16th July 2010 –  Read Film Ireland’s Review here

Good Hair – Official Website

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Director Jeff Stilson talks about ‘Good Hair’

Good Hair

An Emmy winning writer on The Chris Rock Show and The Osbournes, Jeff Stilson directs the documentary Good Hair in which his friend, Rock, explores the multi-billion dollar African-American hair industry.

Good Hair tells a remarkable story, what was your reaction when Chris came to you with the idea?

‘Well when he first brought this idea to me we went to the Bronner Bros. Hair Show down in Atlanta, and that blew me away. I’m a white guy with really boring hair, and I had no idea that world existed. There were hundreds of thousands of people at this convention, the floor is packed for three days. At that point it became clear to me that there was more to this story than I had originally thought.’

So you delved into the history too?

‘That’s what I was most impressed by, when we talked to the Reverend Al Sharpton he told us that once the churches started being bombed in the south during the Civil Rights era a lot of the meetings started to take place in barber’s shops and beauty parlours because white people hadn’t really figured out a way to get their hands on the black hair money yet. It didn’t make it into the movie, but we interviewed Martin Luther King’s barber and that really affected me because this guy was an independent black business owner. His kid integrated a school in Birmingham, and he told me stories about that which just broke my heart because I’m a parent too. So it works on so many levels, with the contemporary side too, so it’s multi-faceted.’

Did the fact that it was Chris Rock fronting the film open any doors and get people to talk, because he is such a huge star and personally very charming too?

‘You’re absolutely right, he has a lot of charm but people also know that they’re not going to get softball questions from him. They know they’re going to get some tough questions and they’re up for that. That was another thing that was good for us, we knew weren’t going to get defensive people, we didn’t have to trick them or anything. They knew it was Chris Rock and they knew what they were in for. If they agreed to be in it they were game for it.’

Did you all have to curb your comedic instincts to tell a factual story?

‘We did a lot of factual pieces on the tv show for five years and this was a longer form of that. We’d usually start at some political place and then explore it and be funny along the way. Not to force a point of view down people’s throats, just to show this world and let people judge it for themselves. Of course Chris has his own point of view, but it’s not jammed down your throat. When he does his stand-up he’s very aggressive, he prowls the stage and he’s throwing all the punches. But when he does these documentaries he listens and then he counter punches. Most comics just go full bore, they want to get their joke in and they don’t give a damn what anyone else says, but Chris is not like that. He counter punches.’

Has this documentary given you a taste for more?

‘Documentaries don’t open a lot of doors. They’re really fun to do, and they’re educational. You actually feel that you’ve grown as a human, whereas most other showbusiness projects make you feel as if you’ve shrunk. But after this one I actually go ‘my God, I’m a junkie now, I’m a black hair junkie,’, if I see a black woman walking down the street now I’m walking behind her looking at her trying to figure out if it’s a weave or is she using relaxer.’

So what’s your hair like?

‘My hair is really fine and boring. We would go into these salons and they’d talk about bad hair and good hair, and they would look at my hair and say ‘you don’t have bad hair, you have the worst hair, because your hair doesn’t hold curl,’. I was at the bottom of the ladder because it’s just bland. One of our daughters has hair like mine and our other daughter has curly hair like my wife so I don’t know how it’s going to play out when they’re older. They’re pretty young right now.’

In the film you explore the use of Indian hair for weaves which is curious isn’t it, the fact that some of the poorest people in the world are donating to this billion dollar industry?

‘That’s another irony. It’s this humble act, you’re basically humbling yourself before your God saying I’m giving you this in thanks for what you’ve done for me and then your hair is used purely for vanity’s sake. We spoke to people at Tirupathi about that and they said they didn’t care. Most of them didn’t know that it was being auctioned off and processed and sold overseas for huge amounts of money, but they said they didn’t care because this was between them and their God. They didn’t care what happened to it after they cut it off. Coming from the west, that’s still so hard for me to grasp.’

How much was that detour to India pre-planned? And to what extent did you respond to events by following up stories like that?

‘There was a lot of that, you try to cover all aspects – the fashion side of it, the economic side of it, the religious side of it. In the beginning we didn’t know anything about that. All we heard about it on the floor at Bronner Bros. was Remy Hair from India, that was the hair that everybody wanted and that’s where most of the hair came from. It comes from all over, there’s Russian hair, there’s Malaysian hair, there’s Chinese hair but it seems that the Remy hair – that just comes from an individual head – from India was the hair that everybody wanted so we thought we’d go there. And then we started to research about how many people tonsured their hair every day, and it’s in the thousands. Just seeing how big this business was, well we just had to go there. And it was fantastic. And let me say they’re right, I’ve never seen better hair than that in my life, it is amazing, beautiful hair.’

What has been the most gratifying response to the film?

‘I don’t know, I can’t really take any credit for it, it was all Chris’s idea. What’s gratifying is that people see him in a different light now. People who watched our show knew he could do this kind of thing. He’s really smart and thoughtful. I can take 1% credit for it, at most and I even feel guilty saying that. I love that he’s patient enough to sit and listen and open his mind. I think that’s beautiful. And I love that some people will still ask what Chris feels about this subject. It’s a nice blend. If people appreciated that and saw him doing this and would like to see him do it again I’d find that gratifying.’

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)

Good Hair was released on 16th July 2010

Good Hair – Official Website

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Good Hair

Good Hair

DIR: Jeff Stilson • WRI: Lance Crouther, Paul Marchand, Chris Rock, Chuck Sklar, Jeff Stilson • PRO: Jenny Hunter, Kalynn Jenkins, Kevin O’Donnell, Jeff Stilson • DOP: Cliff Charles • ED: Paul Marchand, Greg Nash • CAST: Chris Rock, Tanya Crumel, Kirk, Jason Griggers, Maya Angelou, Ice-T, Eve, Salt N’ Peppa, T-Pain

Good Hair is a HBO documentary detailing all one ever wanted to know about the hairstyles of African-American women, but was afraid to ask. With focus on the expensive habits of weaves and relaxer (a hair treatment the women use which would usually be recognised as a perm) and exploring trends and where they came from, the film was based on an interesting premise. However, once the narration kicked in, it felt more akin to the CBS show Everybody hates Chris. Not being one of Chris Rock’s biggest fans, his constant wisecracking teamed with the distracting camerawork meant that initially I didn’t enjoy the film.

It was the compelling interviews with well-known celebrities and the interesting cultural insights that re-engaged me. Although, at one stage when investigating Sodium Hydroxide, the active ingredient in ‘Creamy Crack’/Relaxer, Chris Rock dissolves a can in the substance, which is presumably a much more concentrated solution, being a Michael-Moore-style manipulating the facts.

The film touches on some very interesting social and gender issues, while exploring, not only the subject of ‘Good Hair’, but racial identity and an insight into the world of black women in America. Chris Rock has a good rapport with his interviewees, and after getting used to his delivery I found he provided a relaxed and personal tone to the pieces – although his constant referral to his own daughters seemed a bit unnecessary.

The seriousness of the social problems is juxtaposed with the ridiculousness and frivolity of the Bronner Brothers’ annual hair convention. And in the end the insaneness wins over the content with this becoming the focal point of the documentary. There were important issues that should have been looked at in more detail, instead of spending so much of the content dwelling on a fancy dress, upside-down-cutting, hair-themed farce.

Although Good Hair walks the line between an MTV-funded, reality TV show and a genuinely engaging documentary, it still manages to remain entertaining throughout.

Gemma Creagh

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)

Good Hair  is released on 16th July 2010

Good Hair – Official Website

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Death at a Funeral

Death at a Funeral

DIR: Neil LaBute • WRI: Dean Craig • PRO: William Horberg, Sidney Kimmel, Laurence Malkin, Chris Rock , Share Stallings • DOP: Rogier Stoffers • ED: Tracey Wadmore-Smith • DES: Jon Gary Steele • CAST: Loretta Devine, Chris Rock, Danny Glover, Regina Hall, Martin Lawrence

Death at a Funeral stars Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence and is an American remake of a three-year-old British comedy that was only so-so to begin with. Unsurprisingly, it’s not very good. What is surprising is that it still managed to disappoint me. When I first heard that Death at a Funeral was being remade I wasn’t filled with the sense of impending doom that you might expect. The original was a very near miss and surely these are the best films to remake: you can avoid unfavourable comparisons with the original and you can set right the mistakes of the past. This film does neither.

The action has been transplanted to America almost intact (the pop-culture references are a bit more up to date and the people say coffee instead of tea). Chris Rock takes on the Matthew Macfadyen role, playing Aaron, the good son, who has dutifully made all the arrangements for his father’s funeral. While Macfadyen had a screen presence that Rock undeniably lacks, he’s not known for his light touch with comedy. At least Chris Rock knows his way around a joke. Not that you’d know it here. The first half of the film plods along as the actors stand around flatly delivering telegraphed punch lines. Even the good gags (and there are some good ones that weren’t in the original) struggle to come to life. Only Zoë Saldana as Elaine (a cousin with a short fuse and wet boyfriend) really looks like she’s enjoying herself.

The plot moves further into farce as Aaron learns an unsavoury secret about his father and desperately tries to keep it from getting out. And here I hoped that Rock and Lawrence et al. might be able to let loose with lots of bug-eyed shouting. It might not be bearable, but at least they’d be in their element. But it never happens. And this is the film’s major problem: it’s too well behaved. If the director and his cast went for all-out farce they just might have pulled it off. Actually, it would probably still have been a poor film, but at least they would have tried. I blame the director. Neil LaBute doesn’t know how to handle his cast or tell a joke and he seems to shy away from giving the material the kind of over the top treatment it cries out for. They get it so wrong that the film’s only real over the top moment is its one foray into gross-out humour and this was better in the original for being understated. A farce that errs on the side of caution doesn’t deserve to succeed. The original could have been a good movie, this one (with this director) never even had a chance.

Geoff McEvoy

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for
details)
Death at a Funeral
is released on 4th June 2010

Death at a Funeral – Official Website

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