Death at a Funeral
Whatever happened to Neil LaBute? After mining a unique seam of jet-black social comedy for In The Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors, LaBute has constantly treaded water artistically with ill-conceived projects like the home-invasion thriller Lakeview Terrace or his wayward The Wicker Man remake.
Such a run of bad form is no excuse for offering a scene-by-scene, line-by-line remake of 2007’s ultra-lame Frank Oz comedy Death at a Funeral – a facile, crude, unloved sub-Richard Curtis farce in which a family’s attempts at mourning are interrupted by internal disputes, a naked man on LSD, and a blackmailing gay dwarf (played by Peter Dinklage in both versions).
LaBute’s only real creative alteration is to provide his version an all-black cast, with Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Avatar’s Zoe Saldana, 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan and Danny Glover amongst those caught up in the scenes of accidental drug-taking, corpse desecration and excrement smearing. Whatever LaBute’s undoubted gifts as a playwright, the promise of his early films seems to have been dissipated on material like this, which is as mindless, mean-spirited, and misogynist as the characters he used to satirise.
General release, Wed 2 Jun.