In comedies there is a sub-genre of family disaster films. These usually involve comedy of errors during an event which brings family members who don’t like each other together. Occasionally it is a holiday gathering, but the rest of the time it seems to be a wedding or a funeral which is the setup for disaster. Just take Meet the Parents for example, which has the protagonist meeting future in-laws during a wedding. Death at a Funeral takes the funeral and applies the same vigor towards all that can go wrong at a family function.
Directed by Frank Oz, this mad-dash caper is fast-paced and furiously funny. Although the remake was also endearingly humorous, the film works so much better with the key players being British as they were in this original. The manner in which the dignified British attempt to hold things together as disaster befalls a country-side funeral is far more outlandish because of the emotional restraint attempted. The characters are so over-the-top at times that it makes for a shocking amount of humor, which we see mirrored in the face of our poor protagonist.
Ewen Bremner stars as the responsible son of the deceased, an unsuccessful writer living under the shadow of his irresponsible but commercially successful brother. As he tries to keep things respectable at his father’s funeral, everything that could go wrong does. There are narcotic overdoses, secret affairs which are threatened to be revealed, and enough odd family members to make even the simplest tasks a complete circus.
The Blu-ray includes a high definition presentation, which is decent enough, although the special features are taken directly from the DVD release. There is an audio commentary by director Frank Oz, as well as a second one by writer Dean Craig and actors Alan Tudyk and Andy Nyman. There is also a gag reel.