Death at a Funeral Movie Review
Remaking modern, foreign-made movies for American audiences is a frustrating tactic studios have been expanding recently. Whether it's Ringu or Let the Right One In, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the American versions can at best match their foreign language counterparts and more often than not end up being simply shells of the originals. At the same time, I can understand the business decision to create English-language remakes.
What blows me away is the remake of Death at a Funeral, an almost exact retread of a British film released moderately wide in the United States only a year earlier. The original didn't feature huge stars, but its cast was recognizable to American audiences. More importantly, the original was made in English.
So why in Hell would you remake an English-language movie one year after its original release?
As expected, the new version - which stars Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, James Marsden, Luke Wilson and several other recognizable faces - isn't as funny. The British people, British accents and British humor have been replaced with African Americans, which is fine except Brits are naturally funnier. In this movie, Chris Rock doesn't even perform his usual shtick and Martin Lawrence does what he does best: try as hard as possible to not be funny (and he succeeds).
The plots are practically identical and even share Peter Dinklage, who isn't nearly as funny (nor utilized) as he was in the British version. If you haven't seen the British version, the new Death at a Funeral would probably pass as mildly funny; if you've already seen the original, then this new version will be an extreme waste of time.
Chris Rock's version of Death at a Funeral is not without its moments, but those moments were already done to greater effect on the other side of the pond. Note to Hollywood: if you're going to remake foreign-made movies, at least avoid the ones we can already understand without subtitles.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.