Death at a Funeral: No Hugh Grant, and for Good Reason

Kill me now. Frank Oz can do funny (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), but this retreat from the debacle of The Stepford Wives picks only the lowest-hanging laughs from the olde English country home farce. One mourner's accidentally been dosed with acid; a wheelchair-bound coot heaps abuse on everyone when not afflicted with diarrhea; and the shit from same—so much for English politeness—splatters the face of a hypochondriac. (Somewhere in the Cotswolds, I'm pretty sure, Hugh Grant is using this dusty old script to prop up a table leg.) Then there are two bereaved sons, one a successful novelist and the other not, who argue over who should pay for dad's funeral. Clothes are shed and coffins knocked over, but none of these comic engines can push a wingless fuselage aloft, which just leaves the actors flapping their arms. Even poor Peter Dinklage shows up as a gay American blackmailer—and the best you can hope for Death is that his character clocks out early to preserve a little dignity. No chance of that for Oz.

 
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