Death at a Funeral (15, 92 mins)
Director: Neil LaBute
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
As remakes go this has to be one of the strangest; an American re-run of a British comedy that came out less than three years ago which, though nearly identical in plot, has managed to lose everything that was good or funny about the original. It’s set entirely at a funeral where the extended family has gathered to bury Chris Rock’s father. The trouble starts when one of the guests (James Marsden, getting reasonable mileage) inadvertently takes a hallucinogenic pill and Peter Dinklage, reprising his role from the original, turns up to throw an unexpected spanner in the works. What should be high farce is botched in execution by a thoroughly bizarre choice of director in Neil LaBute, not exactly known for his lightness of touch. So it’s leaden when it should zip, timing is entirely absent and every burst of unfunny physicality is punctuated by a sitcom score. It’s broad, infinitely unsubtle and everything is dreadfully forced, not helped by some actors (Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan and Danny Glover being the worst offenders) mugging and screeching for all they're worth.