Funerals are sad times, but with Aaron’s family, a comedy of errors brings a levity to a sober time. After the passing of his father, Aaron tries to put together an honorable funeral in his home. The problem is that all of his family’s biggest problem converge on this one day. His brother, Ryan, has his head in the clouds with his writing fame and is spending more time hitting on young women than help arrange the proceedings. Elaine is struggling with her secret engagement to her white fiance, Oscar, but her father and ex-boyfriend are doing everything to break them up. Uncle Russell serves as a burden for everyone. And a mysterious man has appeared who holds a dramatic secret about Aaron’s father. Aaron must find a way to hold it together and deliver a fitting eulogy.
Starring: Chris Rock (Aaron), Keith David (Reverend Davis), Loretta Devine (Cynthia), Peter Dinklage (Frank), Ron Glass (Duncan), Danny Glover (Uncle Russel), Regina Hall (Michelle), Kevin Hart (Brian), Martin Lawrence (Ryan), James Mardsen (Oscar), Tracy Morgan (Norman), Zoe Saldana (Elaine), Luke Wilson (Derek), Regine Nehy (Martina), Columbus Short (Jeff)
This is a very well-known cast of characters and comedians. Chris Rock surprisingly plays the least comedic character in the movie, but serves as the glue to the family and the central character to struggle with everyone else’s problems. Loretta Devine plays the widow who has the unfortunate experience of interacting with everyone who causes her pain or discomfort, and she maintains a hesitant presence in each scene as if she knows she is about to be offended. James Marsden has the biggest challenge out of the cast with representing someone who is suffering from the effects of a hallucinogen, making for awkward interactions with each of the attendees and winding up naked on the roof. Tracy Morgan holds a similar personality to his character in 30 Rock, constantly putting himself in tough situations and having overblown reactions to each of those challenges.
One of the most interesting elements of this movie is that it was actually just redone after a British release in 2007. It was released in the United States and the overall story and plot developments are all basically the same. The major differences (other than the actual cast) were the hype, cost and profit. British movies do not tend to do that well in the United States do to the differences in humor. Whether the original screenplay included many of the same types of jokes, they lacked the popular references used in the 2010 version (such as the mentions of Dreamgirls in association with gay identity). The notoriety of the 2010 cast was much higher than 2007 cast and the movie’s budget was more than double the original. In the end, the 2007 version lost money in the end while the 2010 version more than doubled based of the production costs. My belief in the end is that the screenplay was highly regarded but unsuccessful with an American audience, so it was retooled and recasted to try again.
I actually liked the British version of the movie better than this more recent one, but I still enjoyed the overall film. It is enjoyable but not going to jump out as a strong comedy.
Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5