One of my favorite comedies of the last 10 years is Death at a Funeral. It has fairly simple main plot (loved ones gather for a father’s funeral) that diverges into a different interweaving and brilliantly funny story lines. There is also a very fine level of emotion that makes the funny moments funnier and the serious moments more sincere. It’s a great movie and I’ll have to write a real review for it one of these days.
So a few months ago I heard talk of a remake starring Chris Rock. The more I heard about it, the more I knew it will depress me when it comes to theaters. Here are the main reasons why:
1. The original was only made in 2007. I don’t really understand why Hollywood thinks making a remake two years after the original is a good idea. I mean, there are good remakes out there (1959’s iconic Ben-Hur was a remake of the 1929 silent film), but they’re usually made at least a decade after the first film came out.
2. While I try to be as PC as possible, let’s face it; modern “black comedies” tend to be far from funny, clever or smart (not all, just most). It’s easier to reuse worn out stereotypes and cheap laughs than to try anything new. From the trailer, it’s looking to be the case here, too. Every funny line I recognized from the original was interspersed with lines like “Daaamn” and other various generic phrases Hollywood thinks represent African Americans. Nothing seems original or charming.
3. The majority of the cast doesn’t fit with the great characters we met before. Chris Rock can be funny, but he doesn’t have the same dignity as Matthew Macfadyen. From the trailer, Tracy Morgan is just acting how he has acted in every movie, TV show and stand up special he’s ever had. Oh, did I mention Martin “Star of Big Mama’s House” Lawrence has one of the main roles?
4. Alan Tudyk isn’t in it. Let’s face it, people. That is a MAJOR deal breaker. While I actually like James Marsden (who takes over the role), we all know he’s not going to be able to knock it out of the park like Tudyk (“Why is everything so green??”).
I will give the film some credit. Danny Glover does look pretty funny as the angry elderly uncle and Zoe Saldana can play smart and feminine very well. But I don’t think even Peter Dinklage, who reprises his role as the mysterious stranger at the funeral, will be able to bring this movie even close to the original. I normally wouldn’t make such a big deal, but they’re making trash out of a movie that I care about very much and that makes me pretty mad. Needless to say, I don’t plan on seeing this.
For comparison’s sake, this is the original’s trailer.