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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Death at a Funeral’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


Oh. My. God. Why would anyone take Frank Oz’s hilarious 2007 flick of the same name, and turn it into this?

Why would Neil LaBute do that?

Is this all Chris Rock is capable of: taking someone else script and adding some minstrelry to it?

I was all like, Damn! by the time I was halfway through this trailer, and then I saw Peter Dinklage, playing the same role he played in the original film. Are there really so few jobs for this awesomely talented actor that he has to stoop to this?

That’s a bigger crime than the remake itself.

Death at a Funeral opens in the U.S. on April 16, 2010, and the U.K. on June 4, 2010.



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  • RyanT

    I agree with your general reaction. But props to them for the inspired switcheroo of James Marsden for Alan Tudyk’s old character. Ha!

  • Drave

    What’s sad is that they actually used the same shooting script. Or, at the very least, IMDB credits both as having the same script author.

  • MaryAnn

    The Hollywood Reporter says that Chris Rock and Aeysha Carr wrote the script:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i431ca797a370fbb2eb20361f246b1e03

    I guess inserting a few bad, obvious jokes into an existing script counts as screenwriting.

  • *facepalm*

    *headdeak*

    *Carefully slide broken hand out from under head*

    *Proper headdesk*

  • Yes, it doesn’t look that promising but then neither did the trailer for the original 2007 movie. Which I still haven’t seen precisely because it looked so unfunny for a British comedy…

    That said, I don’t think I’ll be seeing this version either. Even though–or perhaps especially because–the last line of that trailer reminded me of that famous sarcastic line from John Sayles’ Lone Star about how heartwarming it was to see one prejudice defeated by another prejudice.

  • allochthon

    Peter Dinklage, playing the same role he played in the original film.

    *cries*

    The original was one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, too. This is a LoM-sized crime.

  • Kate

    What the eff? The original was perfect. WHAT could possibly be gained by remaking an English language movie made two years ago ??

    Nothing in this trailer was even remotely funny.

  • Cori Ann

    What makes me so mad about this is that I actually like most of the people in the cast–but dude, like Kate says, what is the point? The original one just came out–and from the trailer that reveals *every* freaking plot line in the movie, it looks like they barely changed anything at all. Sigh. Clearly this did not make it in front of the Bad Call Police, or they would have stopped it before it ever got into production. Sigh. I think I am going to go watch the first one now just to cleanse my mind of the annoyance…

  • Bluejay

    I thought the original was great. Does making most of the cast African American change anything significant, either in the “meaning” of the story or the marketing of it? Is there an assumption that the audience who would be drawn to this version wouldn’t have seen or liked the original?

  • What’s the correct way to retitle this:

    “Black Death at a Funeral”

    or

    “Death at at a Black Funeral”?

    The first is more ’70s, but it may have some unintended implications…

  • Nina

    “Wrote” the script? There was nothing to write. They copied the existing script, and unnecessarily embellished it.
    Alan Tudyk was amazing as Simon in the original. James Marsden’s “The coffin is moving!” line is painful to listen to. It sounds as though he’s reading the back of a cereal box.
    On the plus side, he and Zoe Saldana would have beautiful babies!

  • David

    It is like a twilight zone, even the trailer is the same

    **screams**
    **runs**

  • What’s the correct way to retitle this:

    “Black Death at a Funeral”

    or

    “Death at at a Black Funeral”?

    The first is more ’70s, but it may have some unintended implications…

  • jimmy

    Peter Dinklage doesnt have to stoop very low now does he?

  • @jimmy: really, dude? it’s you that’s stooped pretty low here.

  • After seeing his role in Elf, it would seem pretty obvious to most people that Dinklage was hard up for work, but like Bronxbee, I suspect that’s not what jimmy was talking about.

  • @tonio kruger: you’re right, i think jimmy was being particularly juvenile. however, re “Elf”, i don’t see that PD should be taken to task for being “hard up for work”… a lot of actors who are supposedly “normal” take crappy acting jobs to stay in the game. PD has enormous talent — i saw him live in an off-broadway play and he was absolutely mesmerizing, as he was in “Threshold” and so many other things. but should he be held to a higher standard for looking for work than Michael Caine who, let’s face it, talented as he is, has taken myriad crappy roles in forgettable movies to stay working — but he still gets credited as a “great actor.” one day, everyone will forget the crummy roles PD took and remember him as the real talent he is.

    we just don’t need juvenile remarks like jimmy’s at any time.

  • However, re “Elf”, i don’t see that PD should be taken to task for being “hard up for work”… a lot of actors who are supposedly “normal” take crappy acting jobs to stay in the game. PD has enormous talent — i saw him live in an off-broadway play and he was absolutely mesmerizing, as he was in “Threshold” and so many other things. but should he be held to a higher standard for looking for work than Michael Caine who, let’s face it, talented as he is, has taken myriad crappy roles in forgettable movies to stay working — but he still gets credited as a “great actor.” one day, everyone will forget the crummy roles PD took and remember him as the real talent he is.

    I don’t doubt that Mr. Dinklage is a talented fellow, and I certainly don’t blame him for the artistic black hole that was Elf. After all, he was hardly the only talented actor cast in that movie and then trapped in a role that was unworthy of him and he’s done fine work in the other movies I’ve seen him in.

    I was just trying to come up with an alternative explanation for Jimmy’s remark that made more sense than the obvious explanation.

    But then I was probably better off saving my words for a less ignoble cause. (For example, protesting the attempts I’ve seen in various places to declare Elf a new holiday classic…)

  • Why???

    Just…why????

  • Well, I finally broke down and saw the original–and for a long while, I wondered what all the fuss was about. Sure, the opening credits were funny and whimsical but there wasn’t a whole lot there besides the opening credits that seemed all that original. Just a lot of unfunny people doing unfunny things and pretending that the majority of this movie’s would-be audience didn’t see this kind of dark humor done far better in the first season of Six Feet Under.

    Then came the eulogy scene and I finally began to see what people saw in this movie.

    Granted, it’s not likely to rank as high on my list of favorite British comedies as, say, Hot Fuzz, Love, Actually, Shaun of the Dead or even A Fish Named Wanda. But it was a lot better than its trailer had led me to believe.

    As for the remake…well, it’s not the first time Hollywood has made a needless and godawful remake and unfortunately it won’t be the last.

  • MBI

    Oh no! Now that they’ve taken the British accents out of this movie, I don’t like this movie anymore!

    This remake is going to reveal a whole lot of hypocrisy of people, I tell ya.

  • Actually I’d be surprised if anyone apart from the die-hard fans* who already posted here really cared. It’s not the first bad remake Hollywood has done and it probably won’t be the last.

    But then that’s just me.

    *That is to say, fans of the original who are die-hard fans, not fans of the movie Die Hard.

  • aml

    While part of me thinks that it is absolutely awesome that someone saw the British upper class and thought Black Americans, the other part of me gets really hung up on what I am sure must be the stupid, terrible, insulting result: upper class snobbery toward the lower classes = “reverse racism.”

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    @MBI: I don’t see anyone making that point. I do see a lot of people saying that this looks completely pointless. I’m not sure how this makes anyone a hypocrite.

  • Kenny

    This will make everybody feel better. I love how even the trailer for the original is the same, but funny.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neCY4hh1wJg

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